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Kenya coalition unshaken by row

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has assured that the coalition government is stable despite the current disagreement on the appointment of key judicial officers.

Mr Odinga told a media breakfast on Wednesday that the government would stand the test of time and was confident the current stalemate would be resolved soon. He reiterated that his relationship with President Mwai Kibaki was good but accused some unnamed individuals around the President of sabotaging the government.

"This conflict is not something that shall destabilise the coalition government. This is like a wind that is passing," he said.

"We have been consulting very efficiently and that is why we were able to appoint the Commission for Revenue Allocation and the one on the Implementation of the Constitution."

He however admitted that the grand coalition management team appointed to resolve conflicts "had not met for some time" but promised that it is one avenue for resolving the current crisis.

"We have ways to find a solution," he said.

On Tuesday, tempers flared in Parliament over whether President Kibaki consulted Prime Minister Raila Odinga on the nomination of Justice Alnashir Visram as Chief Justice, Kioko Kilukumi as the Director of Public Prosecutions and Professor Githu Muigai to be the Attorney General.

Speaker Kenneth Marende is on Thursday expected to rule whether Parliament will go ahead and vet the nominees as required by law.

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Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka gave a chronology of the consultations between the two coalition partners to a hushed House. Mr Musyoka told Parliament that Mr Odinga held the last meeting on the issue last month.

He said the last attempt by President Kibaki to have the final agreement on the names was done when Mr Odinga was in Addis Ababa for an AU ministerial council meeting.

"It\’s for the country to decide who between the President and the PM is telling the truth," the VP had said.

He said Mr Odinga had suggested a foreign Chief Justice, a proposal that was shot down by President Kibaki who argued that Kenya has enough local talent and it was likely to send the wrong message to the legal fraternity.

The Premier is in the meantime calling for calm on the political front, saying continued conflicts could badly hit the economic growth of the country.

"There is a powerful link between economic growth and the way our politics is conducted. The main reason the economies of our neighbours like Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda remain steady while ours flip and flops is found in our politics," he said.

"A recent study by the World Bank found out that Kenya attains appreciable growth in the first two or three years of every administration after elections and then it all goes down to zero after the next elections."

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