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Sit and agree, envoy tells Kenya leaders

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – German Ambassador to Kenya Margit Hellwig-Boette is calling on the President and Prime Minister to meet and agree on the names for nomination to constitutional offices following Thursday\’s rejection of the list in Parliament.

Speaking to Capital News on Friday Ms Hellwig-Boette pointed out that this was the only way to solve the impasse on the nominations to the office of Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget.

In his ruling, the House Speaker said that differences between the two coalition principals confirmed that there were no proper consultations before the list of nominees was drawn.
"The two Principals should find a way just to sit together to come up with a list of people they want to nominate and agree," Ms Hellwig-Boette stated. "I find interpretation about consultations a bit weird because consulting and then not agreeing and then someone does something and the other doesn\’t agree does not make sense. Consultation is about compromise."  

The German envoy said that a quick solution to the issue will set a precedent when other similar situations occur.

"If the two of them do not manage to solve this relatively minor issue of the nominations, what do we have to expect when it comes to the real issues about implementing the Constitution?" she posed.

"I think they should really pull together, sit together and use the time they have when Parliament goes for recess and once when everybody gets back come up with a new list and solve this issue," she said.

She also emphasised the role Members of Parliament play in the implementation process of the new Constitution.

"There is much more at stake for the country than this issue and when I ask the two principals to come up with a solution for the country, this also goes for Parliament," she said.

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"This is because the Parliament is in the position to derail the process and bring problems to all those civil servants and government officials who are working on implementing the Constitution and want to respect timelines."

The Speaker had asked President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga to come up with a new list of nominees to the crucial constitutional offices stating that appointments are required to be made by the president in compliance with the National Accord and approval of the National Assembly.

Last month, President Kibaki nominated Alnashir Visram as the Chief Justice, Prof Githu Muigai as Attorney General, Kioko Kilukumi for Director of Public Prosecutions and William Kirwa as Controller of Budget.

These offices have been set up under the new Constitution that Kenyans passed in August last year.

The Constitution is seen as an important step in advancing equitable distribution of national resources through devolution of political and economic governance and has a Bill of Rights that guarantees personal freedoms.

However, the Prime Minister and his party distanced themselves from the nominations, insisting that Mr Odinga was never consulted, a move that is threatening to tear the Coalition Government.

Mr Marende told Parliament that the nomination process disregarded public participation and directed that fresh nominations be conducted in full compliance with the Constitution and the National Accord.

The move came after the February 3rd ruling by the High Court which declared that President Kibaki breached the Constitution when he selected the four nominees in disregarded of clear provisions of the law that called for equity and gender equality.

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