Kenya PM defends beleaguered coalition

March 27, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 27 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Friday defended the performance of the year-old Grand Coalition Government against accusations of laxity and corruption.

In his first State of the Coalition address to the nation, Mr Odinga said the unity government had made greater achievements than it was being credited for.

He cited the slow-paced resettlement program of internally displaced persons, the disbandment of the Electoral Commission of Kenya and the enactment of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission Act as milestones for the government.

“It is not possible to undo all the ills of 45 years in a moment. It is unrealistic to expect that every item on the agenda could be completed within the relatively short term of one year,” he said.

“I have no time for corruption. Neither has President Kibaki, and we both intend to continue leading by example.”

The Premier however castigated the Office of the Attorney General, Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), Police and Judiciary as institutions that were the major impendent towards success against corruption. 

“I have seen that inexcusable delay in the investigations, prosecution and determination of corruption cases is often deliberate to shield the accused who regrettably find allies in legal officers mandated to fight corruption,” he said.

 “I have taken time to understand the working of the KACC, the Kenya Police the State Law Office and the Judiciary and I have concluded that our current agreements within this institutions are the major obstacles towards success against corruption,” he said.

The PM maintained that far reaching reforms in these institutions was the way out of the mess. He promised that the government would ‘soon’ establish a team to spearhead police reforms.

The Judiciary, land department and the police are targeted for major reforms in agenda item four under the National Accord. The reforms were envisaged to take a year but most are yet to be realised. Chief Justice Evan Gicheru has lately been under pressure to resign for allegedly blocking key reforms in the Judiciary, but he has remained put maintaining that he has done his best. A land policy that has been in the pipeline for years is still pending at the Cabinet while police structures have remained intact.

Mr Odinga said a record of 60 convictions of corruption cases since 2003 compounded a pathetic record by the AG’s office and Judiciary. The premier announced that he had ordered an investigation into the department of lands following many claims of corruption in land allocation.

The Premier nevertheless rubbished claims that the Grand Coalition was the most corrupt government Kenya has ever had. Mr Odinga said the government was wrongly being vilified for graft cases that could not compare to the Goldenberg scandal.

“There is nothing whether maize, oil, tourism or selling hotels or whatever else that approaches the magnitude of yester-year such as Goldenberg or Anglo-leasing” he said.

The religious leaders last week called for elections accusing the President and the Premier of failing to deliver in their respective capacities but both principles have dismissed this.


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