Sunday, March 9, 2008


It is interesting to watch/read about how MPs instead of concentrating on healing the nation and enacting Bills that would legalize the power-sharing deal between ODM and PNU, that so far is promising to put the country back on her feet and avert the free fall that a fortnight ago was staring in the face and now seems a thing of the past. They have acquired the new game. And the new game in town is...well,... scrambling for the positions of Deputy Prime Ministers. AND YES... that is the new game. Hon. John Harun Wmau(MP for kilome) had this to say about the situation....

As a result of the disputed presidential election results, the country fell into a deep political crisis.

We have had thousands of people killed, wounded, and displaced not to mention huge economic losses.

This crisis seems to have instantaneously divided into ethnic blocks a country that was previously peaceful and the role model in Africa.

To resolve the post-election crisis and heal the nation an agreement has been reached. This agreement has been widely published in all daily media, stipulating legal reform to fortify the accord between the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

To defuse the tension, it was agreed that a power-sharing structure, to include the position of Prime Minister and the sharing of ministerial posts on 50-50 ratio between PNU and ODM, be legalised.

But now, the proposed legal structure undermines the creation of a permanent order that will address healing and reconciliation in a manner which meets public expectations.

The fault starts right from the creation of the position of Prime Minister either by design, calculation or intention, the structure looks like it is built on quicksand. Among other things it is understood that:

• The Prime Minister shall be appointed from an elected member of the National Assembly either from a political party or a coalition of political parties, whichever has the largest numbers on the floor of the House.

• The office of the Prime Minister so appointed shall become vacant inter alia by passing of the National Assembly resolution, which is supported by a majority of the members declaring a vote of no confidence.

This means a simple majority even by one vote and this is extremely dangerous in view of the present circumstances. The difference between the largest political party and the coalition is about ten MPs.

• The other ground for removing the Prime Minister from office is when the coalition is dissolved. This is strange because the expectation of Kenyans is that the coalition should have no room of being dissolved at the whim of either of the partners.

There being no specified time limit within which a coalition will be dissolved means it can even be dissolved any time.

This goes against the expectation of the people and the spirit of the agreement.

The understanding is that the coalition should stand until the Tenth Parliament is dissolved. This should be expressly stated as it is at the heart of the coalition.

The suggestion that any one of the coalition partners can withdraw at will goes against the expectation of our people who have been made to believe that this coalition is permanent, save Parliament being dissolved in readiness for a General Election.

While the legal provision of the Act provides that the Act shall cease to apply upon the dissolution of the Tenth Parliament, that is the expectation of our people and the law should reflect this expectation. Behind the curtains there seems to be a general agreement that the coalition partners can dissolve it.

My voters in Kilome have told me that their understanding of the agreement is that the coalition between President Kibaki and Mr Raila is supposed to heal until this Parliament is dissolved.

Their feeling is that if the coalition is dissolved, then the country would dive back into the crisis, which this arrangement has sought to remedy.

Voters understand that sharing of Cabinet and Government is supposed to create ease national tension. But the comfort lies in running the Government until Parliament is dissolved.

My constituents, therefore, demand that the coalition should not have power to dissolve itself and no member should have power to dissolve it until Parliament is dissolved. A coalition that can dissolve itself or be dissolved at any time by any other people other than the people of Kenya is a hoax.

The inspiration, expectation and belief of the people is that a coalition will have enough safeguards working as checks and balances during the healing, when the opposition in Parliament has been consumed into this partnership.

While the majority party in Parliament has 111 MPs, their partner in the grand coalition commands 103. Raila, the leader of ODM, is to be the Prime Minister forgetting that the difference between the two parties relative strengths is just eight MPs.

What if there is a change of alliances or by-elections that shift numbers? Then the majority party will be demanding premiership since it will have more members. The scenario therefore will be like this; the coalition will have the President, Vice-President (Leader of Government Business) the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and majority of members in the House.

The plan is, therefore, to displace Raila as the PM.

For the agreement to be void of any mischief, which is now glaring since the president comes from the coalition of political parties and he has a fixed term of five years, similarly the PM should remain with ODM for five years.

The provisions of a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister should be the same as those of the President, which is two-thirds majority. In case the PM does not survive the vote, the next should still come from the party other than the President’s.

Dissolving the coalition for any other reason other than the Parliament being dissolved should not even be contemplated.

Should the legal framework as it is pass, then one party is being duped and the effect could be devastating.

The legal framework should create a coalition that cannot be broken or dissolved.

No comments: