, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – President Mwai Kibaki now says there is no crisis in Kenya.
The Head of State issued a statement on Thursday, in which he assured of his government’s cohesion amidst a bitter row with his coalition partner the Orange Democratic Movement.
“I wish to assure Kenyans that there is no crisis,” said the statement from the Presidential Press Service.
On Monday, ODM declared a crisis in the government after President Kibaki quashed the Premier’s decision to suspend Ministers William Ruto and Sam Ongeri over graft allegations.
The party invited the Panel of Eminent African Personalities, through Kofi Annan to mediate.
It later announced it would be boycotting Cabinet meetings until there was sobriety. In a letter to Mr Annan, party leader Raila Odinga warned that the government could stall owing to the crisis.
The President however portrayed a functioning government and went on to outline its agenda to expand programmes for job creation for the youth and speedy implementation of ongoing development programmes.
“In particular, I appeal to all Kenyans to remain united as we pursue the completion of a new Constitution. I welcome the efforts already made by the Parliamentary Select Committee and the Committee of Experts.”
His assurance came barely minutes after the Prime Minister – through his advisor Salim Lone – said he was due to meet the President this Sunday to address “the notion of the crisis.”
Mr Odinga who is currently on official duty in Japan, indicated he had an extensive and amicable telephone conversation with President Kibaki on Wednesday evening on the ongoing debate.
“The two principals agreed that there were no intractable issues that stood in the way of the coalition continuing to work closely together to forge common ground on which to build a stronger Kenya,” said Mr Lone.
“As a country, we need to focus more on the continued efforts to address the needs and improve the welfare of all Kenyans, and to speed up implementation of ongoing development programmes,” reiterated the President.
ODM and PNU have delved deep into this crisis and have been daring each other to quit the political marriage. The two parties are expected to take the tussle to parliament once it reopens next week.
The Panel of eminent persons warned earlier on Thursday, if the current disagreement is not swiftly resolved it could derail reforms.
Here is the President\’s statement in full:
Over the last few days, there has been heated debate about the cohesion of the Grand Coalition Government. In that regard, I wish to assure Kenyans that there is no crisis.
The fight against corruption has been intensified. In addition, we are expanding programmes to create jobs for the youth. As a country, we need to focus more on the continued efforts to address the needs and improve the welfare of all Kenyans, and to speed up implementation of ongoing development programmes.
In particular, I appeal to all Kenyans to remain united as we pursue the completion of a new Constitution. I welcome the efforts already made by the Parliamentary Select Committee and the Committee of Experts..
(H.E Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya)