PM: Include ODM to Geneva team

June 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 1 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga insists that the Kenyan delegation heading to Geneva to defend the government’s position over alleged extra judicial killings must reflect the coalition arrangement.

He said that the composition of the delegation which is expected to defend the government on the findings of a damning report on extrajudicial killings prepared by UN special Rapporteur Prof Philip Alston, must be representative of parties in the coalition government.

"I am personally opposed to human rights violation and want such atrocities stopped but the delegation that is to proceed to Geneva must bear the character of the coalition government," he declared.

The Premier told a press briefing in Kibera on Sunday that ODM had already proposed three names and assured Kenyans that the final list of the delegation will satisfy both sides of the political divide.

Mr Odinga’s insistence on the composition of the delegation comes after divisions and contradiction emerged among government officials over blanket dismissal of the report which implicated police commissioner and Attorney General’s office of abetting the atrocities.

During a food distribution exercise at Kibera  District Officer’s office the Premier announced that the government had finally ratified proposals to incorporate the urban poor under the emergency relief programme.

He said funds for impending need assessment survey to ascertain the actual figures of the poor in urban centres were already factored in the next financial year.

The Premier said the statistics were necessary for coordination of relief supplies distribution to the    targeted recipients in the towns as records for those in rural areas were already established during previous exercises.

He however said the government had scaled up the recipient ratio from the initial 1.4 million to the current 5.1 people after preliminary findings indicated that a section of the urban poor were more vulnerable to hunger than their rural counterparts.

"The government wants to focus on targeted subsidies to the urban poor to help mitigate the ravages of economic hardship and food shortages. We have budgeted for an assessment exercise in the coming budget" Odinga said.

The premier said an estimated 4.9 million Kenyans in urban areas were in dire need of relief assistance in the wake of global economic recession but expressed optimism that the country may soon pull out of the crisis.

He said the government was working on modalities to ensure that institutional reforms were enacted and entrenched into the governance structures before the lifespan of the coalition government expired.

Mr Odinga insisted that the country wanted a Bomas model of constitution but said contentious issues in the document could still be amicably resolved to ensure that a new constitutional order was in place.

"We want a new constitutional dispensation, reforms in the police, Judiciary, land policies so that the country can be free of corruption and bad governance that bedeviled the nation since independence" he said.

The Premier also condemned the acts of lawlessness meted by vigilante and outlawed groupings in the country and ordered the police department to ensure such outfits are contained.


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