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Friday, March 28, 2008

Cabinet Deadlock : Coalition Fails Before Starting

Kibaki and Raila: Plastic Smiles?

Following a lengthy meeting earlier today at Harambee House between ODM captain Raila Odinga and PNU’s Mwai Kibaki, Raila has been addressing a press briefing at Pentagon House this afternoon in which he, not surprisingly, apportioned blame on the PNU side who he says are insistent on keeping the current portfolios while also unreasonably proposing an increase of the cabinet size to an unprecedented 44 members!

Raila said that on its part, the ODM is proposing a cabinet of no more than 34 members with portfolios equally shared between ODM and PNU in accordance with the peace accord signed exactly a month ago in which the parties agreed to share government positions equally.

As if this is not enough, the two parties have been driven further apart by the controversial, and massive Kshs. 50b Safaricom IPO which was officially kicked off this morning.

Raila’s remarks are an indication that a cabinet is not likely to be named soon and even if it was; it would be without the consent of ODM which is a key partner in the grand coalition government. How long the country can hold without a properly constituted cabinet is another question altogether.

Although Kibaki has been quoted as being optimistic that the cabinet stalemate would be resolved soon, observers are casting doubts about this and are now questioning the very feasibility of the grand coalition government in which the parties have strongly disagreed on the formation of the government as well as the hurried Safaricom IPO.

Chief Mediator Annan has reportedly told the two leaders that power sharing and naming of an acceptable cabinet is within the mandate of the two leaders, but in reality that responsibility is largely in the hands of Mwai Kibaki.

The first casualty of this development is this week's proposed joint tour to clash-ton Rift Valley by Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. While addressing parliament on Tuesday, V-P Kalonzo announced that the two leaders would be visiting IDPs in the Rift Valley in a show of unity and to preach peace. It is unlikely such a tour will take place under prevailing circumstances. The Rift Valley PC had earlier embarked on a largely fruitless effort to convince IDPs that security has been restored and that they should go back home so they can receive free government fertilizer, farming implements and other relief assistance.

Going by the recent bold demands (on fertiliser prices, exam council fiasco, Safaricom IPO and cabinet appointments) issued by ODM leaders , it is apparent that the party is slowly but surely resigning to the fact that the grand coalition is unworkable because of PNU’s insistence (read - superiority complex) on retaining key cabinet dockets, impunity and also exhibiting reluctance in sharing public appointments. The ODM is now facing up to the fact that this coalition may fail before it starts. As days go by, it is becoming more and more likely that the much hyped ‘coalition of new possibilities’ will not hold. Not because it was poorly constructed but merely because some egos have refused to let go.

One scary possibility is the return to violence and its socio-economic effects. Indeed, a cursory glance around the continent shows that the failure many African peace deals have resulted into even deadlier anarchy and in some instances, secession or splitting of territories or elimination of the leaders of one of the warring factions in order to achieve lasting peace.

The threat of violence is further enforced by the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 which is unclear about if there will follow a general election if the coalition is collapses or is dissolved. Section 6 of Act says that ‘The coalition shall stand dissolved if: (a) the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or (b) the coalition parties agree in writing; or (c) one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition by a resolution of the highest decision-making organ of that party in writing.

Because of the unorthodox circumstances by which the PNU grabbed power, ODM has in the past opted for mass action, diplomatic pressure and political propaganda. This was seen by the party as better strategies than the option of challenging PNU in a compromised court or even in parliament where it enjoys a majority.

Let the anxiety continue. Waswahili walisema: ngonja ngoja huumiza matumbo.


Taabu said...

Whoever coined the word CUL-DE-SAC was spot on. Just like the rat trap the entry is both appetizing and flawless but once in you are in an ABSORBING STATE. Probability og getting out unwonded in ZERO, zilch. Na bado.

kalamari said...

Kibaki is not relinquishing anything close to powerful ministries. As far as he is concerned, Raila is about to be given a beautiful flowery crown and he should therefore be content. This is classic Kibaki. Anybody who thought Kibaki would do the gentleman thing must have been a political toddler. I told y'all that Kibaki signed with his left hand.

SPIRIT OF FAIRNESS: What should Raila do if Kibaki announces him the PM alongside a cabinet where PNU occupies all the powerful positions while ODM manages obscure ministries? Since I called for Kalonzo to refuse the stolen VP, I must therefore ask Raila to refuse a premier position if it is not in tandem with the 50/50 proposed coalition agreement. His acceptance of such a watered down position will be a betrayal of the Kenyan people. He will not only be a traitor but a bigger one than Kalonzo.

Will Raila forsake the S500 Guard Series Mercedes Benz and the accompanying white gloved motorcade?

tnk said...

perhaps time to reflect on reality.

possibly the empty shell presidency reserved for kibaki has turned to empty shell PM for RAO.

cloutless PNU cabinet has been turned to lame duck, ODM cabinet.

reality looming very large hear, perhaps deroo should sound off his i told you so speech.

Abass said...

The good part of it is that the naive Kenyans who were blaming the likes of Karua and Michuki for everything while they were heaping praises at Kibaki, saying it is not him to blame, realise now that he is not any better. They are a donkey and his ears, no difference.

Anonymous said...

we have two competing slogans

kazi iendelee and kazi ianze sasa

with these strange marriage

we now have a choice of combined slogan

kazi iendelee kuanza sasa
or kazi ianze sasa kuendelea

but my favorite that aptly sums the idiocy is

kazi ianzelee

means absolutely nothing, which is what we are expertly practising now.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

why does ODM want the Finance and local Govt Ministries so much? What "steak" is in these ministries, according to Jakoyo Midiwo? ODM has already been given the Tourism Ministry to oversee that 1.5 billion dollar industry, but Midiwo claimed those were "bones" they did not want. If Tourism then is "bones" and not "steak" according to Midiwo, imagine what the Finance Ministry must be! Maybe a whole bull on a rotating spit?

Anonymous said...

The die has been cast...Atwoli has put it very well...Can some one pls tune into Classic FM...bas


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