Confidence vote against Kenya PM trivial

November 30, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya 30 Nov – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has described a planned vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister as ‘petty politics.’

He says if successful, the motion against Raila Odinga by a section of Rift Valley MPs over his stand on Mau evictions will frustrate reforms in the country.

Addressing the media after opening a journalist training workshop, the minister said: “Any petty dispute like arguments over (the settlement of squatters from Mau) that translates to a vote of no-confidence in the PM could disrupt the grand coalition.

“How am I going to produce a new Constitution for you? I need the PM together with his supporters… I need the PM together with his political skills therefore it is not a matter that is engaging me.”

He said he had not been approached by those who support or oppose the Motion saying that he was focusing on keeping the coalition united in order to deliver on constitutional and institutional reforms.

Mr Kilonzo is one of the members of the National Dialogue team that drafted the National Accord which set up a grand coalition government under the leadership of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki.

Meanwhile the supremacy battle within the Orange Democratic Movement could intensify after it emerged that the party would be forced to choose another person as Prime Minister should the no-confidence vote against Mr Odinga succeed.

Constitutional lawyer Kibe Mungai told Capital News in an interview that the notion that Mr Odinga’s ouster as the PM may mean a collapse of the grand coalition government was erroneous.

He said the both the PM and President signed the National Accord on behalf of their parties.

“The confusion that has been there in Kenya is that the creation of the National Accord Act was to make Mr Odinga the PM is not true.  If a vote of no-confidence passed and ODM cannot pass anybody else then a coalition of parties will present another person to be the PM,” he said.

The battle is likely to pit deputy party leaders Musalia Mudavadi and William Ruto against each other as to who would replace Mr Odinga as the PM.

In the past Mr Mudavadi has always beaten the agriculture minister to any party title by virtue of having the PM’s ear.  During the run-up to the formation of the grand coalition government the local government minister got one of the deputy premier’s spots leaving Mr Ruto to settle for the agriculture portfolio.

Last year during the party’s elections, ODM was forced to split the deputy party leader’s slot after MPs from Rift Valley threatened to walk out if Mr Ruto was not elevated to the position.

The MPs have always argued that the Mr Ruto deserved higher ranking than Mr Mudavadi since his region delivered more seats and voters as compared to Mr Mudavadi\’s Western province.

Mr Mungai said that the both Mr Odinga and President Kibaki signed the National Accord on behalf of the parties and not as individuals.

The lawyer however said the no-confidence vote was ill-timed as it was likely to negatively impact the enactment of Agenda Four-related reforms.

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 which created the post of the PM stipulate that the Premier must leave office if a vote of no-confidence is supported by a simple majority in the House.


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