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Kenya coalition heads for retreat

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – The Permanent Committee on the management of the Grand Coalition affairs retreats to the Tsavo this weekend, hoping to build unity within the seemingly divided government.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said on Thursday that the meeting which will also incorporate members of the Serena Mediation team hopes to “enhance the spirit of working together as members of one team.”

He stressed that the principle of collective responsibility would be top on the agenda of the meeting to be held at the Kilaguni Lodge on Friday and Saturday.

“It is very important that as one government we are seen to have one voice and not to speak in different languages. Have we not had cases of where details of cabinet meetings have been leaked?” he wondered while admitting that there was a very high perception of a divided government.

“Grand Coalitions anywhere in the world have to work very hard to show a unity of purpose. It can never be two governments in one,” Mr Musyoka said.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga had on Wednesday said that the meeting would strategise on a roadmap for key reforms envisaged in Agenda Item Four.

"We are going to work out a timetable on how some of these measures would be undertaken. Come next week, we will be able to tell you clearly the bench marks and timelines of how these reforms will be carried out," Mr Odinga had said.

Agenda Item Four envisages police, judicial, land and electoral reforms as long-term solutions to avert a repeat of the crisis experienced in the aftermath of the 2007 general election.

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However the government’s commitment and pace on these reforms has remained under heavy scrutiny. An audit of the performance of the coalition government commissioned by the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Team concluded that the coalition government had failed to deliver as divisions have dominated its operations.

Mr Odinga signed the peace accord with President Mwai Kibaki in February 2008 agreeing to share power following the disputed Presidential election results. A total of 1,133 people lost their lives while more than 300,000 were displaced from their homes.

In January, Parliament rejected an attempt to constitute a Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of the post election violence as recommended by the Waki Commission into the Post election Violence. Mr Musyoka however said that the government would work hard to push through in a second attempt when parliament reopens.

President Mwai Kibaki chairs the management team which also has PM Odinga and Mr Musyoka. It also includes Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi. Others are ministers George Saitoti, Ali Mwakwere, Moses Wetang’ula, Charity Ngilu, William Ruto, Mohammed Elmi, Jeffa Kingi and James Orengo.

Others expected at the Kilaguni meeting are Martha Karua, Sally Kosgey and Sam Ongeri, who are all members of the Serena team.


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