Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki will today (Thursday) swear in the newly constituted cabinet as part of the recent power sharing deal, which ended the country’s post-election violence. Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered the power sharing deal between President Kibaki’s government and the opposition Orange Democratic Movemement (ODM) party led by Raila Odinga who is now the new prime minister in the new coalition government.
Kenyans are reportedly anxious for the new cabinet to begin its work of addressing the country’s problems, especially the plight of internally displaced persons. Peter Anyang Nyongo is the new minister for medical services. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from New York City that the new cabinet has plans to begin addressing the problems of Kenyans.
“The swearing in is just a formal occasion when ministers take the oath of office which means that they would observe the constitution and observe the principle collective responsibility when they are in cabinet and keep government secrets. Basically, it is just a formal occasion or swearing allegiance to the constitution and to the rule of law,” Nyongo noted.
He said although there are differences in ideology, the coalition government would work.
“The grand coalition is based on the national accord, which we’ve put down a program of action that the coalition would undertake while in office. And so although there are differences in ideology, I think the accord to which we are all signatories would determine what the grand coalition does. The grand coalition is not meant to be a permanent feature of Kenyan government. It is a response to the recent electoral crisis that we had and a way to go over that crisis so that we can have a new constitution, and on a basis of a new constitution like a democratic government, which should then take over power and rule with one coherent program,” he said.
Nyongo said the new cabinet has set a plan in motion to address the problems ordinary Kenyans are facing.
“One thing that we have done already is put in place an emergency social economic recovery program, which addresses the internally displaced persons as a key issue. But you see in responding to that program in a long term, we must put in place a land reform program, which would ensure that in the future the issues of land inequality and equal access to land not lead to those kinds of conflicts. I think that we have two things to respond to, emergency issues like the internally displaced persons and long time agenda, which will address the core issues that led to some of the problems that we had during the political crisis,” he pointed out.