Kenyan entrepreneurs oppose power deal

December 11, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – Kenya’s business community has opposed a proposal for sharing of power between a President and a Prime Minister as contained in the Harmonised Draft Constitution.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) said on Friday that the constitution should clearly place one person to be in charge of the country but with a stronger independent oversight role especially from Parliament. In a statement read by Chairman Patrick Obath, the sector said that instead of distributing power, accountability mechanisms to check the individual in charge, should be enacted.

“We need a clear centre of authority in the country but how that is done we cannot prescribe. If the Prime Minister has got a role but there is a clear CEO we have no problem,” he said at a press conference.

and added: “We need one person who if anything is wrong in Kenya he/she is accountable.”

The draft law provides for a popularly elected President as Head of State while the Premier who shall be Head of Government, will be the leader of the party with majority Members of Parliament. Different organisations have expressed concerns that the arrangement is ambiguous. The issue has also been a bone of contention for politicians.

On Thursday the Coalition Management Committee agreed on a hybrid system of government similar to the current arrangement. Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said the team had resolved that the two principals should share Executive power which will be clearly set out in the Constitution. Mr Kilonzo said that the details of the agreement would be worked out by a group of technical experts after which the team would ratify them for presentation to the Committee of Experts for consideration.

Speaking separately on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi said although the coalition management committee had agreed on a hybrid system of government, Kenyans should not expect it to be a completely smooth process. Mr Mudavadi said there were still areas that needed to be re-looked at in the Harmonised Draft Constitution for the hybrid system of government to work.

“It will be a bumpy process but there is a forward movement in the sense that there is greater acceptance in my view of this harmonised draft,” the DPM said.

The Coalition Management Committee, which includes the President, Prime Minister and a team of 10 Cabinet ministers, is the mechanism of resolving disputes in the coalition and dealing with all other matters that may arise within the government.

“It is not going to be a very easy process but the more we seek a common ground on a number of issues the easier it will be to eventually have a Constitution,” Mr Mudavadi said.

On other proposals the business community opposed the creation of a two chamber Parliament saying this would overburden the taxpayer. The group also opposed the creation of regional governments saying priority should be given to a two-tier structure comprising the national government and counties. 

“Even the National and Counties should be lean organisations that are poised to deliver services not to create employment. Employment should be created through commerce, business, agriculture and others,” Mr Obath said.


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