, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 14 – President Mwai Kibaki has said he was confident he and Prime Minister Raila Odinga would keep the coalition government together.
Speaking during the installation of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) Moderator David Ritho Gathanju on Tuesday, the President said that they would work towards enforcing the national agenda.
“I want to assure you that definitely for myself and definitely for Mr Raila and we who are these two groups I am sure we will succeed, nobody will set us aside, it doesn’t matter what you do and it doesn’t matter whatever you say,” he stressed.
The Head of State at the same time cautioned the political class against making negative comments about the government in public, reiterating that some of the statements were creating unnecessary tension in the country.
He asked them to concentrate on the reform agenda and support the coalition government to achieve the development agenda.
The President urged them to consult with the government before going to the media with accusations against one another, calling on them to cultivate respect through dialogue.
“It is imperative that as leaders, we concentrate on the major reforms that need to be undertaken and not resort to public sideshows. I believe in the importance of honest consultations before leaders engage in public utterances that confuse the public and give the impression of a crisis.”
He re-affirmed the government’s commitment to implement Agenda Item Four of the mediation talks, which involve reforms.
While he welcomed criticism from religious groups, the President asked them to offer solutions that would help the government to remain united and succeed in its development agenda.
He asked them to actively participate in reforms especially in the constitution process, but at the same time gave them a tongue lashing against spreading messages of despair.
“I am very depressed when I hear many people express words of despair and many of them are people inside the church, they are people who should be preaching. It is not your role to discourage us, it is your basic role to pray for us,” the President spelt out.
Mr Kibaki admitted that the government was faced with many challenges owing to the 2007 post election violence, the global economic crisis and the current famine.
He said the government was still struggling with unemployment and resettling internally displaced persons who were still residing in camps.
He asked the country to be peaceful and begged for support and patience as the government continues to source for ways of alleviating the difficulties.
Meanwhile, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders from the larger Meru backed their party leader Mr Odinga, saying he deserved more respect from President Kibaki and the Party of National Unity (PNU).
The party officials asked the President to recognize the PM as an equal partner in the coalition government as envisaged in the National Accord.
“We are fully behind our party leader and support his recent sentiments that ODM was getting a raw deal in the coalition. The President should swallow his pride and recognise that he is sharing the power with PM,” said Dr Japheth Mwongo, the Imenti North ODM chairman.
“Just as Lands Minister James Orengo proposed, let the Attorney General interpret the accord so that the PNU side can understand and fully embrace it,” said Dr Mwongo.
The leaders accused President Kibaki of letting Kenyans down by failing ‘to respect the power sharing arrangement which placed the two partners in the coalition at par’.