Kenyans are expressing worry that their
unity government may be unraveling after Prime Minister Raila Odinga accused
President Mwai Kibaki of being the stumbling block to necessary reforms.
Tensions have reportedly being brewing between the two leaders after Odinga's
Orange Democratic Movement party accused President Kibaki of unilaterally appointing
government functionaries without following the guidelines stipulated in the
2008 agreement. That agreement, which was mediated by former United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan, ended violent clashes that followed the 2007
general elections. Under the agreement the prime minister and president were to
be equal partners in a unity government until fresh general elections in two
years administered by an independent electoral commission. Political analyst
Michael Tiampati tells reporter Peter Clottey that Kenyans feel betrayed by
their unity government.
has come already late in the day because this has been in the offing since
sometime last year after the coupling together of the unity government. Whereby
according to the so-called Memorandum of Understanding or the agreement that
was brokered by His Excellency Kofi Annan that sought to balance the power
within the Grand National government of unity. And this has stipulated that
fact that appointments would have to go undergo certain consultations and that
all government business would have to be unanimously agreed upon," Tiampati
said there is growing discomfort among Kenyans that the unity government is not
living up to expectations.
transpired is that some appointments were made unilaterally, according to the
ODM (opposition Orange Democratic Movement) side. That appointment of party
(Party of National Unity) officials as ambassadors, permanent secretaries and
heads of parastatal organizations, were appointed without due consultations.
So, that was the beginning of the fallout," he said.
said the bone of contention between the president and the prime minister has to
do with the prime minister accusing the president of not fully focusing on
addressing the numerous problems facing ordinary Kenyans.
feeling is that the description of the prime minister that the president is
somebody who is not in touch with reality with emphasis on the reality
regarding the coupling together of the rules that govern or was supposed to
govern the government of national unity due to the fact that the president
appeared to be off track in terms of addressing issues. Like a case in point is
where the president was accused of addressing his family issues as opposed to
national issues like the current famine and hunger that is afflicting the
country and matters that would appear to be of national interest. I think it is
from this perspective that the prime minister felt that the president is off
the national mark in terms of priorities and what he is supposed to address,
and how and when," Tiampati pointed out.
said it was apparent that the president is unlikely to abide by the dictates of
the agreement signed that led to the formation of the unity government.
president has nothing to lose because of course this is his final term and in
that regard he would not be subjected to another grueling elections. And that
is why he would make arbitrary decisions without bothering to consult the prime
minister, while the prime minister is supposed to be the coordinator of
government ministries. So, there has been a disconnect between the role of the
president and that of the prime minister and I think it is from that
perspective that the prime minister is coming out strongly opposing the president.
And saying the he doesn't have enough space to implement his duties and that
the ODM feels it has the numbers in parliament, but decisions have not
consulted the opposition," he said.
political observers say tensions between the two leaders are hampering the running of the government. This follows Prime Minister Raila Odinga's claims that President
Kibaki was the greatest obstacle to reform and accused him of unleashing civil
servants to undermine him and the coalition.
are growing concerns that the reopening of Parliament in two weeks will spell
further trouble for the coalition, particularly the Party of National Unity
(PNU) that has been rocked by the resignations of Party stalwart and former
Justice Minister Martha Karua and Medical Services Assistant Minister Danson
Meanwhile, Kenya's clergy has been vociferous in its call
for the two leaders to reconcile and bury the hatchet. The Head of the Catholic
Church John Cardinal Njue and his Anglican counterpart Archbishop Benjamin
Nzimbi urged the two to treat each other as equal partners.
Cardinal Njue reportedly warned both the president and
the prime minister that history would judge them harshly if they allowed the
situation to degenerate. He dismissed calls for fresh elections, saying they
would be disastrous. Archbishop Nzimbi on the other hand told Prime Minister
Odinga to stop complaining in public about Kibaki because the President was his