Power row spills over to Kenyan Parliament

February 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The bitter rivalry created after President Mwai Kibaki overruled Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the suspension of two Cabinet Ministers is now set to spill over to Parliament after a section of Rift Valley MPs said they would push for Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to head the House Business Committee (HBC).

Cherengany MP Joshua Kutuny said they would file a Motion to have Mr Musyoka appointed the Leader of Government Business.

“We will give notice of a Motion when Parliament reconvenes.  We will have the Vice President as our Leader of Government Business, and you will see more surprises when Parliament re-opens,” he said.

The House Business Committee which determines the order of business to be transacted by Parliament is chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly after the president appointed Mr Musyoka to head the committee while PM Raila Odinga named himself to chair it.

Speaker Kenneth Marende said he would chair the committee until an agreement was reached.

Mr Odinga who has increasingly been isolated by MPs from the Rift Valley will now face fresh opposition after they said they would back Mr Musyoka for the position.

PNU member and Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua also said: “Next Tuesday when we go back to Parliament, the first thing we will do is to install the Leader of Government Business so that we can have a sense of direction.”

The anti-Odinga MPs are opposed to his suspension of Agriculture Minister William Ruto and Sam Ongeri of Education over alleged corruption in their ministries.

They have accused the PM of misinterpreting the law saying the President was the only authority mandated to sack or ask Ministers to step aside.

Mosop MP David Koech said: “Never shall we ever in this country allow a (school) principal to suspend or interdict a teacher. It is done by the appointing authority.”

Marakwet East MP Jebii Kilimo said she did not understand why Mr Odinga had invited former UN Chief Kofi Annan to mediate the current stand off explaining that there was no serious crisis in the government.

“He thinks he was born a leader.  There are others who were born to be leaders… why is it that when it is something affecting him, he cries to an outsider and he wants leadership in this country? He should call it a day when the sun is still shining on his political career,” she asserted.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister (ODM) Musalia Mudavadi said Mr Odinga had written to Mr Annan asking him to come to Kenya to resolve the political impasse between him and the President.

Capital News however confirmed that Mr Annan had already scheduled a visit to Kenya to attend the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Conference scheduled for mid March.

Meanwhile, Gem MP and ODM Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo supported Mr Odinga’s decision (to suspend Mr Ruto and Mr Ongeri) saying he was an equal partner with the President.

He said just like the President had powers to fire, the Prime Minister too has the same since they worked under a 50-50 agreement.

“I understand the Accord.  I know what is to coordinate and supervise… I have never even thought Mr Odinga is junior to Mr Kibaki.  Even a two-year-old will tell you Raila and Kibaki are equal partners in government,” he said.

He said the Attorney General misinterpreted the law when he said the PM erred in suspending the two Ministers.


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