, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – Consensus within the coalition government over the system of government appears uncertain with the Party of National Unity (PNU) maintaining it will not relent on its demand for a pure presidential system.
The party’s National Executive Council met on Monday and prepared its own independent memorandum to the Committee of Experts (CoE) on Constitution further dimming any hope that the coalition government would come up with a common position on the draft. In its memorandum to be presented to the Experts within two days the party continued with its chorus that “the person to be the Chief Executive of the country must be elected by the electorate.”
Coalition partner Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) reignited the conflict over the weekend after it forwarded a separate document supporting a parliamentary system just as the Coalition Management Committee was negotiating a possible agreement on the matter with prospects of coming up with a common memorandum.
“We thought we were reaching a point of agreement then our friends produced a document that is totally off course. We don’t believe they have ever been sincere all along,” PNU vice Chair George Nyamweya told journalists on Monday.
The Management Committee had on Thursday indicated it was nearing agreement on a hybrid system with a technical committee expected to work out details on how power would be shared between the President and a Prime Minister.
“We can call the Chief Executive – Prime Minister, Chief prefect or anything – but Kenyans have said they want to elect him or her directly. There is no Kenyan who will accept that they will no longer elect their President or Member of Parliament.”
In his Madaraka Day Speech on Saturday, President Mwai Kibaki assured the country that the government would seek consensus on all matters of the draft law.
PNU has said it is willing to accept a hybrid system where the President retains executive authority unlike the proposal contained in the Harmonised Draft Constitution. ODM however in its memorandum is advocating for an elected ceremonial Head of State while the Party with the majority MPs produces an Executive Prime Minister.
Even with a ‘reported agreement’ with the Coalition Management Team there is contention on who should appoint senior civil servants and Ministers and chair Cabinet meetings. While PNU says this should be the prerogative of the President, ODM wants this responsibility left to the Premier.
On devolution PNU disagreed with the three levels (National, Regional and County) proposed in the draft law saying the National and County levels are sufficient. The party further rejected the proposals to scrap the Provincial Administration saying that it should be maintained to coordinate government services. On the Judiciary the President’s party rejected the Constitutional Court saying its functions should be left to the Supreme Court.
The party supported a two-chamber Parliament but maintained that both Senators and the MPs should be elected directly. It proposed that the Senate seats be shared equally among the eight provinces. The party wants 90 percent of the MPs to be elected directly from newly drawn constituency along equality of votes while 10 percent should be through proportional representation and affirmative action.