Raila's Trip: PNU Intelligence Caught Napping
After intentionally delaying this morning's mediation talks for about 5 hours, the government/PNU side were this morning thrown into disarray when news reached them that Raila Odinga had abruptly left the country. Was he in prison?
This incident shows Kenyans just how organised ODM is. Firstly, unlike the duly elected President Kibaki who made several secret trips out of Kenya and to Mombasa immediately after the elections, ODM, through its deputy captain Musalia Mudavadi was open and clear: Yes, the captain is abroad for a day, but he is definitely available at all times for consultation while out there. Which means, (much to PNU's disappointment) mediation talks will not be delayed because Raila is out of reach.
Secondly, ODM supporters are not left with any anxiety as a results of their leader's absence. PNU have continuously been playing delaying tactics with Annan for three weeks now, and they have been desperate for an excuse to lay blame on ODM for any reason that would delay the talks or show lack of seriousness.
Hopes that a deal would be announced today appear to be premature. It is emerging that the protagonist are still deeply divided over the powers of the prime minister. The PNU side do not want to agree to a PM with executive powers, while the ODM side insist that the state and government must be divided with the PM only answerable to parliament and leading the government while the president leads the state. PNU have even tried to suggest the PM's role be crafted along the lines of some chief minister with some functions attached, but the ODM side would hear none of it.
In order to show their seriousness, this afternoon, a second ODM PG meeting in as many days issued an ultimatum reconfirming its earlier threat that there would be countrywide mass protest within a week that is; as from Wednesday 27th February, if the PNU side failed to agree to their demands. ODM spokesperson Ababu Namwamba said that the huge amount of concessions their party had made in the search for peace was far much more than what the PNU side had made, if any at all. ODM accused the PNU of buying time so as to consolidate its illegitimacy.
ODM's statement also appeared to emphasize the right to self-determination, and it will be interesting to see how players react to this. ODM had earlier requested that parliament be recalled to address issues of insecurity in the country, but it seems the man in whose hands the power to re-call parliament rests (PNU's Mwai Kibaki) is in no hurry.
Insiders in ODM are insisting that Kibaki must be made to sign a peace agreement that shares executive power, and that the agreement must be legalised by way of constitutional amendment. Only then will ODM take up its duties. After all they ask; which pledge/promise has Kibaki ever fulfilled in his 40 years stint as a public figure/ MP / president? None.