NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7- President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday appeared to calm the brewing row in the coalition government over nominations to key constitutional offices, when they agreed to let Parliament deal with the matter.
The two principals held a meeting for close to two hours on Monday at the President’s Harambee House offices where they agreed to respect the ongoing parliamentary process.
“On the issue of the nominations to fill State offices currently under consideration by Parliament, the two principals agreed to respect the ongoing parliamentary process and its outcome,” a statement sent to newsroom stated.
“Furthermore, the two Principals assured Kenyans that they will observe the letter and spirit of the Constitution in implementation of the Constitution including the appointment to State Offices.”
The midday meeting was expected to look at the options available for the two principals to find an easy way out of the mess and lower simmering political hostility.
The President has already forwarded his list of four to Parliament for consideration and approval, while the PM has publicly rejected the nominees saying he was not properly consulted.
The Premier in turn wrote a protest letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende who then asked two parliamentary committees to evaluate the matter and establish whether the Constitution was breached.
According to Monday’s Presidential Press Service dispatch, the two leaders also discussed the International Criminal Court process, resettlement of all IDPs and appointments to ministries in an acting capacity.
“In regard to the ICC process, the two Principals reiterated the position of the Government that Kenya has always preferred that the cases be dealt with through a local legal mechanism. To that end, the Grand Coalition Government has embarked on the critical appointments in the judicial system to ensure that the country has a credible local judicial mechanism to competently and comprehensively deal with the cases relating to post election violence,” the statement read.
Read full statement here
The principals also affirmed their commitment to seek justice for the victims of the 2008 post-election violence and said that the Grand Coalition Government was undertaking diplomatic and legal initiatives with the UN Security Council and the ICC with an appeal that the cases currently being handled by the ICC be deferred for one year and thereafter referred to a competent local mechanism.
“The one year deferment will give the country the necessary time to establish the local mechanism as envisaged in the ongoing Constitutional Reforms. This process will be handled through a Grand Coalition bipartisan Cabinet Committee,” the statement said.
The two principals also agreed to appoint the Minister of State for Public Service Dalmas Otieno to be acting Minister for Medical Services to fill in for Professor Anyang’ Nyong’o who is out of the country undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
Prof Nyong’o has been away since November last year.
The two leaders also consulted and agreed to appoint Fisheries Development Minister Amason Jeffah Kingi, to be acting Minister for Industrialisation.
Mr Kingi will take up the docket after Henry Kosgey stepped aside to face abuse of office charges preferred against him by the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mr Kosgey is accused of flouting the law when he allowed the importation of overage vehicle.
The case is still pending in court.
On the issue of the resettlement of the remaining Internally Displaced Persons President Kibaki and Mr Odinga agreed that the program be hastened.
“They acknowledged that 14,000 acres have been identified and the process of purchase was under way. In that connection, they directed that the purchase of land be speeded up so that the three categories of IDPs are settled simultaneously,” they said.
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