Daggers drawn in Kenya coalition

February 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The war of words between coalition partners Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Party of National Unity (PNU) continued on Tuesday with their Joint Secretaries in the Permanent Committee on the Management of the Grand Coalition Affairs throwing barbs at each other.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s advisor on coalition affairs Miguna Miguna called on Attorney General Amos Wako to step aside for failing to “read and understand” the laws on power sharing, free from political interference.

“I urge my senior friend and colleague Amos Wako to publicly acknowledge that he has failed in his onerous duty and provide an opportunity for another worthy Kenyan professional to render his or her services to the motherland,” said Mr Miguna who is an advocate of the High Court.

“Wako is wrong… he is wrong on the letter of the law; wrong on the spirit of the law. He is wrong on the Accord and wrong on the Constitution.”

He argued that disciplining government workers was part of the PM’s job description in the unity pact and therefore the suspension of the Cabinet Ministers William Ruto and Sam Ongeri was valid.

“Anybody who has gone to law school will be able to give you only one interpretation; there is only one supervisor and coordinator in government.”

“Even a company supervisor on the factory floor suspends employees; it would be ridiculous to say that a PM who supervises and executes the functions of government cannot suspend a minister. The mere fact that you suspend an employee and he remains recalcitrant does not change a fact,” said Mr Miguna.

On his part, the President\’s Coalition Advisor Kivutha Kibwana accused ODM of trying to create a crisis in the coalition in order to derail the Constitution review process.

Prof Kibwana cited the fresh push by ODM to reject the Naivasha agreement on the Constitution.

“The cooking of a crisis is an attempt to derail the country. Kenyans must prevail over ODM who were part of the Naivasha agreement, to support it in Parliament and in the referendum.”

He blamed the PM`s advisors of trying to remove the country\’s focus from tackling graft and other national issues.

“Clearly the PM has internal problems within ODM.  Why are ODM disagreements being elevated and made to look like coalition disagreements?” he asked.
Mr Miguna said that the PM and ODM members in government did not plan to pull out of the coalition. “We shall never leave the government,” he said.

The unity accord between Mr Odinga and President Kibaki, brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for political reforms, a new Constitution and changes to the police and Judiciary in order to prevent a repeat of the violence during the next election in 2012.

Mr Odinga on Monday asked Mr Annan to intervene to resolve the latest row.


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