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Raila to address Kenyans at 4pm

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga was on Tuesday afternoon scheduled to address the nation on the raging impasse over nominations to four constitutional offices.

A statement from the Prime Minister Press Service said that: "The subject of his statement will be the nomination to constitutional offices."

The address was set to take place at 4pm.

The Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) was also scheduled to hold a press conference on "the ongoing Constitution implementation process."

"This is an important press briefing especially in light of the debate on judicial nominations," said a statement from the CIC.

The PM has been locked in a tussle with President Mwai Kibaki over the nominations to the offices of the Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget insisting the President did them without consulting him as required by the National Accord.

President Kibaki had nominated Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram as the CJ while lawyers Githu Muigai and Kioko Kilukumi were picked as AG and DPP respectively.

The President also nominated William Kirwa to the position of the Controller of Budget.

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The Head of State last week made his own address to the nation last Friday where he said the government would await the conclusion of a constitutional case initially filed by women and youth groups who are contesting that the nominations failed to adhere to the Constitution.

The women contend that gender equality was not respected as there is no woman in the list of four. In issuing an interim injunction, High Court Judge, Daniel Musinga ruled the nominations were unconstitutional.

On Monday 20 other organisations joined the case.

Justices Kalpana Rawal, George Dulu and Luka Kimaru who were appointed to hear the case directed the parties to file all their documents within seven days so that the matter can be heard from March 2 on a day-to-day basis.

Speaker Kenneth Marende last Thursday declared the nominations unconstitutional and urged the two Principals to reconsider them.

Pressure has been mounting from the international community, clergy, civil society and the business community for the President and PM to resolve the impasse.

Ten diplomatic missions chose to take the middle ground and instead called on President Kibaki and the Prime Minister to cooperate and resolve the impasse that appears to derail the implementation of the new Constitution.

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