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Quit if you wish, ODM told

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) on Wednesday dared Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Ministers to quit the government if they wished.

Speaking after holding a closed door meeting, the PNU coalition through East Africa Community Assistant Minister Peter Munya told the media that the coalition government would continue functioning even if either of the parties withdraws as stipulated in the National Accord.

“The withdrawal of one party from the coalition does not amount to the collapse of the government. It also does not mean the country has to go into elections. In that event the President is constitutionally mandated to reconstitute the government,” he said.

Even though the PNU and affiliate members attending the meeting refused to answer questions from journalists, reliable sources told Capital News that they also discussed what steps to take following ODM’s threat to boycott Cabinet meetings.

The source said: “The President has his mechanisms to deal with those members who refuse to attend Cabinet meetings. One could be by dismissing them.”

But this of course would be a challenge since he cannot dismiss a Minister without consulting the other coalition partner as guided by the National Accord.

On Tuesday the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura announced the cancelation of a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

His statement came after ODM threatened to boycott Cabinet meetings following the rift between the President, the Prime Minister and their supporters.

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Despite the apparent political stalemate in the country, PNU maintained that there was no crisis in Kenya.

The members accused Mr Odinga of using sideshows to sidetrack the country from important national issues.

“The PM is the one who is unsuccessfully attempting to precipitate a crisis in order to divert the attention of the country from urgent issues of the day like constitution review process, suffering of milk farmers due to mismanagement etc,” he said.

The party also alleged that ODM was dragging internal wrangles within the party to the coalition government: “Factional fights within ODM should not be construed as problems of the coalition government; PNU would like to implore ODM to sort out their internal issues without bringing them to the government.”

The party also said it would support a Motion in Parliament to push for Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to head the House Business Committee.

Mr Musyoka is the ODM Kenya Chairman and his party is one of the PNU’s affiliate parties.
The meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre was held following the rivalry that emerged after President Kibaki overruled Mr Odinga over the suspension of Education Minister Sam Ongeri and Agriculture Minister William Ruto over corruption allegations.

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