The seat is mine, says Kenya PM

April 25, 2009 12:00 am

, ELDORET, Kenya, Apr 25 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Friday that there should be no controversy on who should be the leader of Government Business in Parliament.

He explained that since the constitution bestowed the supervisory and coordination role of Government business to the Prime Minister, it followed that the PM whose party has a majority of members of Parliament must also play the same role in Parliament.

Emphasising that Parliament must correct past wrongs, Mr Odinga said the leader of the party with Parliamentary majority must be the Leader of Government Business.

Said the Premier; “There is no country in the World where a party with minority MPs heads such an important House committee.”

The PM was addressing mourners at Lesuiye village, plateau location in Eldoret East constituency during the funeral of Mzee Isaiah Kimeto Barasa and at various centres on his way to Eldoret town.

He said the country was poised for major reforms noting that hopes of realising a new constitution within one year were now high after the committee of experts appointed to look at various drafts completes its work.

“We expect the experts to thrash out the four remaining contentious issues in the Bomas draft and come up with a new constitution for Kenyans.”

Noting that the previous electoral system was unworkable, Mr Odinga expressed confidence that the new team of experts would level the ground for the 2012 elections.

“It has been proven that the 2007 election register contained 1.2 million ghost voters who voted. One therefore wonders whether the dead woke up from their graves voted then went back to their graves,” he posed.

He said there was need for Kenyans to adopt a common ground on the Constitution to avoid a situation witnessed in 2005 when the draft was defeated after being subjected to a referendum.

The Premier also spoke about Migingo saying though the Island was in Kenya, the country will not go to war with Uganda because of it. He added that everyone including Ugandans themselves knew that the Island was Kenyan and were just playing a bad joke on Kenyans.

“Uganda is our good neighbour and our biggest trading partner we cannot therefore go to war with her over Migingo,” he said.

On agriculture, the PM asked farmers in the area to take advantage of the decrease in the prices of fertilizers to increase the acreage under maize saying as a well endowed region they supplied a biggest part of the country with food.

He also spoke about the recently launched Kazi Kwa vijana programme saying Sh5 billion had been set aside between now and June to provide jobs for the youth.

"Under this programme,we expect the youth to involve themselves in road construction, tree planting construction of dams among other community projects and earn themselves a decent living," said the PM.

The Minister for Agriculture William Ruto, MPs Prof Margaret Kamar, Musa Sirma, Peris Simam, and Jackson Kiptanui said ODM members of Parliament were resolute in their support for the PM to be the Leader of Government Business.

Mr Ruto said those saying they were being petty had missed the point adding Parliament must conduct its affairs the right way. “And the right thing to do is to let the party with a Parliamentary majority head be the leader of government business in the house,” he added.

Saying Kenyans must address difficult situations facing the country frankly, Mr Ruto warned that the government will continue to be dysfunctional if things are glossed over as it’s always done.

Mr Ruto announced that the Agricultural Finance Corporation had set aside Sh1 billion this financial year to be lent to the youth and women who have no collaterals under the group guarantee programme to improve their farming.


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