NAIROBI, September 30 – Kalonzo Musyoka has downplayed last weekend’s endorsement by a section of Members of Parliament from Central Kenya as their preferred contender for the presidency in 2012.
The Vice President told Capital News in an interview that he was not on the campaign trail since the next general election was four years away.
“We still have work to do. What Kenyans need to see is an improvement in services and the quality of life. We have high unemployment and must increase domestic and foreign investment to create additional jobs,” Mr Musyoka said.
He said even though he was honoured by the backing he got from the MPs, he did not see the need to rise on that support.
“This is a country that is in transition from chaos to normalcy and it’s never easy. This is not the time for it (campaigning). We should hold our horses and do what is essential for now’” the VP said during an interview on a wide range of issues.
He went on to explain that he was not opposed to reformation of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, but was against the manner in which politicians wanted to mete ‘mob justice’ on the commissioners.
“Under the rules of natural justice you cannot condemn someone unheard. Everybody knows there’s need to reform the electoral commission. But it is wrong to administer mob justice. There is a way of dealing with this matter,” he noted.
Mr Musyoka said he was for a lean commission with a maximum of nine officials who would be appointed by the President after wide consultations with leaders of political parties.
“I know that we cannot go into the next election with the commission as presently constituted but let the Cabinet debate this (Kriegler report). I’m sure there are also Kenyans who have not even read the commission’s report,” Mr Musyoka observed.
He said the problems pin pointed in the report mainly focused on infrastructural weakness at the ECK and not necessarily individual failures.
“ It is simply at the level of the polling stations and tallying centers where a lot of work needed to be done. Perhaps you need to computerise the entire ECK. And that is quite separate from telling people to pack and go,” the Vice President said.
He also dismissed reports of a possible conflict between his office and that of the Prime Minister when Parliament’s Standing Orders are reviewed.
“I absolutely see no conflict whatsoever. In exercise of his (PM’s) role as supervisor and coordinator of government business, there will be need for him to find time to have questions put directly to him. This will be some 45 minutes or so on a particular day,” he said.
He also clarified that there were no differences between him and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“We sit together in Cabinet. We are carrying out joint programmes on behalf of the grand coalition government. That does not mean we cannot differ in expression of various political party positions on several issues. That should not be confused with anything personal. I have no personal differences with the PM,” he said.
Mr Kalonzo said his party (ODM Kenya) should take credit for a bid to transform Kenya into a 24-hour economy. “Kenyans will remember that we were very eloquent in talking about the 24-hour economy. That is coming to fruition. At that time people put serious doubts,” the Mwingi North MP said.
He also assured Internally Displaced Persons that the government was doing all within its abilities to resettle them and help them rebuild their lives afresh. “We will continue to work in government framework and (with) external friends to give the people dignity. It is difficult to reconstruct lives that have been shattered but we have to try as much as we can since we are a caring nation.”