, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga jetted back from a weeklong tour of Japan and Thailand on Sunday morning and assured Kenyans that the political standoff facing the coalition government would soon be resolved.
Though he declined to discuss politics and elaborate on the possible solution to the wrangles, the Prime Minister said the issue would be sorted out amicably by coalition partners.
"In school, I was taught that if there is a problem like a Mathematical problem, there is a solution, so they will tell you that this is the problem, solve it, so we have a problem and we are equal to it, we will solve in our own time," he said.
The Prime Minister left the country on Sunday after announcing the \’suspension\’ of Agriculture Minister William Ruto and his Education counterpart Prof Sam Ongeri but the decision was reversed within hours by President Mwai Kibaki.
Mr Odinga subsequently declared a \’crisis\’ in government and said he had invited former United Nations chief Kofi Annan who helped mediate a power sharing deal between him and President Kibaki to intervene.
On Friday, the Prime Minister\’s office sent a statement to newsrooms stating that Mr Odinga and the President were scheduled to hold a crisis meeting on Sunday to chat the way forward on the current political stand off in government but State House handlers immediately denied knowledge of the meeting.
An official at the Prime Minister\’s office on Sunday maintained there was a scheduled meeting between the two coalition partners at State House, Nairobi.
And even as the Prime Minister insisted there was a crisis which needs to be resolved, Agriculture Minister William Ruto with whom they have broken ranks later addressed journalists at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and urged "those declaring a crisis to concentrate their energies on delivering pre-election pledges."
"I do not think that declarations of disputes will any way help build a country that we will all be proud of, we should focus on issues and deal with issues with the merit they deserve," Mr Ruto said on arrival from Italy.
"Therefore, I don\’t think it is helpful to continue agitating for disputes, we should focus our energies on priorities that every Kenyan is looking out for from all of us as Government," he added.
On the PM\’s invitation to Mr Annan, Mr Ruto said: "Unless Kofi Annan is an idle man to find time all the time to come to our country I think he should find something more useful to do."
"The issues that have arisen are issues that are well within the management of those of us in government and those are issues we can deal with," he said and warned against "heightening tension in the country over very minor issues."
The Eldoret North Member of Parliament also insisted that he would not boycott cabinet meetings as directed by ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyong\’o.