President Barack Obama's administration
is expressing worry that ongoing political impasse within Kenya's coalition government
could potentially degenerate into chaos
reminiscent of the 2007 post-election violence. After separate meetings with
President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Johnnie Carson, urged the leaders to resolve political tensions which he said
could plunge the country into chaos. Some political observers believe instability is a
bigger threat to Kenya's prospects than the global financial crisis.
Wamwere is Kenya's former deputy information minister. He told VOA that
Carson's visit is unlikely to help resolve the political impasse between the
president and the prime minister.
think that the worries of the Obama administration are quite genuine that the
coalition may not be working so well because the differences between the
principles, between the major parties continue to express themselves quite
He said there were
indications that the unity government would not be successful.
"In my view, this was bound
to be because if you have two parties in the same government that are not
pulling in the same direction, that do not share the same ideology and do not
even have the same vision for the country, it is very difficult for such a government
to work as harmoniously as another government would work if it were to be just
one party government," he said.
Wamwere said there should
have been an election run-off after both parties failed to win the first round
of the 2007 general election.
"My view is that after it
was concluded by the Kriegler Commission
that neither President Kibaki nor Prime Minster Raila Odinga had won the
election, the way forward should have been to go back to a repeat election," Wamwere said.
He said the country's
political leaders have failed the nation.
"Here things are different
to the extent that the government is held hostage by the political leaders," he
Wamwere said the meetings
between the U.S. envoy and the president and prime minister will not begin the
process of resolving the political stiff rivalry between the two parties.
"I think as the Swahili
proverb says that you cannot put two bulls in a pen with a single cow and
expect harmony," Wamwere said.
He said previous attempts at
resolving the impasse have failed to yield positive results.
"The fact is that we have
had meetings between our leaders and important personalities from the rest of
the world before. We even had Obama come here when he was a senator and when he
left there was plenty of bad blood between him and the leaders," he said.
Wamwere said it was about
time Kenyans found a home-based solution to the problems.
"What I am trying to say is
that where our friends from outside can assist, it is unlikely that they would
help us resolve a conflict unless we ourselves have decided to resolve that
conflict," he said.
Wamwere said Kenyan
politicians have helped fuel tribal hatred for political success.
"Ethnic conflicts in this
country, even political conflict are something that our leaders thrive on. Our
political leaders are reaping from this very violence; they are benefiting and
they get elected precisely because they are ethnic warlords," Wamwere said.
Former United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan was instrumental in the formation of Kenya's
coalition last April to end post-election violence that killed at least 1,300
Some Kenyans have expressed
displeasure after members of the coalition started squabbling after a raft of
new corruption allegations began unfolding.
Meanwhile, Jonnie Carson said tensions between political
parties in Kenya over issues like who should be the leader of government
business committee in parliament probably reflected what he described as the
tip of the political iceberg.
He added that there are other likely tensions existing
below the surface, which he said could lead to a disastrous return to unrest.
President Kibaki's office later released a statement
saying he informed Carson that the unity government is committed to reforms and
is willing to seek consensus ahead of Kenya's new constitution.
development, Kenya's Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) began
working Monday after nine of its commissioners were sworn in. The new
team, which is expected to take over the offices of the embattled Electoral
Commission of Kenya (ECK), will have its first major task of conducting
by-elections in two constituencies. The country has been without an electoral
body following the disbandment of the ECK last December.
The new team faces
the hurdle of overseeing electoral reforms in the country and restoring public
confidence within two years. The lack of an electoral body has left the country
with an electoral vacuum that could precipitate a constitutional crisis in case
the presidency falls vacant.