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Nyagah: House seat is for ODM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Cabinet Minister Joe Nyaga has supported calls by his colleagues in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party that the position of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament should go to their Party Leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Nyaga argued on Saturday that the National Accord which was signed last year and which brought an end to the post-election violence recognises the ODM Party as an equal partner in the coalition government and therefore the Prime Minister should be head the House committee.

“If the Head of State is controlling State House, his representative in ‘Bunge’ (Parliament) by any definition, it makes sense for it to be the Prime Minister who supervises and coordinates the activities of the government,” Mr Nyaga asserted.

Debating has been raging in and outside Parliament all week on whom between Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and the Premier should lead the committee.

While their counterparts from the Party of National Unity (PNU) have through President Mwai Kibaki insisted on Mr Musyoka, the PM has maintained that as the Leader of the party with Parliamentary majority, he must be the Leader of Government Business.

Mr Nyaga also said it was unfair to put all the pressure on the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende to determine the case, when there was a committee in place to resolve any differences that may arise in the government.

On Thursday Speaker Marende indicated that his office was ill equipped to determine the executive should run its affairs but disclosed that he had written to the two principals seeking an urgent resolution of this issue.

“The two parties have a working mechanism to address difficult issues. That committee is the one that should be addressing the complicated issues of coalition management,” he offered.

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Mr Nyaga also took issue with the exclusion at the lower levels of government and maintained that there should be fair sharing of all dockets.

The parties’ involvement he said was the only way to end the wrangles that have now become a norm in the government.

“When we involve our leadership at all levels then all people will feel like they belong. Kenyans are looking for leadership from us and I urge the Committee that is charged with the responsibility (of ensuring a harmonious working relationship in the government) to be allowed to do its job,” he added.

Mr Nyaga however defended the bickering in the government saying it was inevitable since a coalition government was still a new concept in Kenya but appealed to the public to avoid taking extreme positions that could damage the image and reputation of the country.


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