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Raila happy with Kibaki about turn

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 22 – Fresh consultations on the judicial nominees have begun with President Mwai Kibaki holding talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga a few hours after the Head of State withdrew his original list.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga welcomed President Kibaki\’s decision and blamed the confusion to the President\’s advisors.

The premier said were it not for the poor advice his coalition partner got from those close to him, he would not have ignored advice from his chief legal advisor-Attorney General Amos Wako.

Mr Odinga told a media conference at his office that the President\’s move had now opened up room for fresh consultations that would lead to an acceptable list of nominees which will be arrived at through proper negotiations as outlined in the National Accord.

"Every leader has got his own advisors and sometimes you find the quality of leadership is as good as the quality of advisors that a leader has around him or her.  I really do not want to cast aspersions of the quality of advisors around the President, but if they had been on the job proper then they could told him that it was unadvisable to go against the advice of the AG," he said.

"All leading legal authorities in the country had said otherwise, the Speaker just did the icing on the job, and that is why I am saying the advisors did not do their job and that is why they left the king naked," he said.

Speaking soon after President Kibaki announced the withdrawal of the nominees, the Premier said: "I am happy that finally the President has seen the light."

He told reporters he was ready to meet the President to deliberate on the matter in line with the National Accord that demands that such appointments be done after consultations.

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"In fact I can confirm that I have a date with the President this (Tuesday) evening," he said of the meeting that was scheduled to kick off at 1430GMT.

The Prime Minister said he was always open to negotiations with the President "because that is the only best way for us to move the country forward."

The Premier was accompanied by Lands Minister James Orengo, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and his advisor Salim Lone among other officials from his office.

Asked if he felt targeted by his political opponents from the Party of National Unity (PNU), the Premier said: "I don\’t feel targeted at all, all this is politics, even all those shouting that the matter is being politicised are politicians themselves."

In an apparent reference to Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who has been temperamental lately in public meetings and press conferences, the Premier said there was need for leaders to remain calm.

"When you pick tempers, you are likely to make a lot of mistakes, that is why I have even not bothered to answer them because they have resorted to hit below the belt and I have said I have no business down there," he said amid laughter from journalists.

He urged leaders to engage each other as leaders because "the moment we lose our cool and begin to bang tables as if we are actually going to resort to fist fights we actually demoralise the people.  Imagine small kids somewhere watching a leader doing such kind of thing… what kind of impression are you giving?"

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