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Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Vulnerable Is The Prime Minister?

There are some Kenyans who insist that politics in Kenya is now going to be pretty boring with a grand coalition and no opposition in parliament. Of course these naïve Kenyans have no idea what they are talking about.

Already the people’s hero, Raila Odinga is sitting on what will shape up to be one of the hottest political seats ever created in these shores. As usual most Kenyans have failed to read the small print and would prefer to wait for a Tsunami before they scrutinize that all important section.

One of the things that is bound to influence politics considerably and make any prime minister vulnerable is the fact that parliament needs only a simple majority to send the premier home. And don't forget that unlike a vote of no confidence on the president, it does not send the MPs back to the polls. In fact it can be done one lazy afternoon with 60 or so legislators in the house. And even with a full house, there are a lot of people in PNU who would vote with the Kalenjin community to remove the PM, yesterday. Yep. It is pretty easy to pass a vote of no confidence on the prime minister, meaning that poor Agwambo will feel the heat from day one. Still his supporters will tell you that the man is fireproof.

Now let us take a purely hypothetical situation. Say the Kalenjin community in parliament for some reason are not happy with their arap Mibei, the PM. We all know that thanks to former president Moi’s wily ways, the Rift Valley has numerous MPs and most of them are from the sparsely populated Kalenjin community. What this means is that they would need to team up with a small party within PNU like Narc and they would be able to garner enough numbers to send the Prime Minister home. By the way Narc is also pretty jittery about the grand coalition and one man called Danston Mungatana keeps on making all sorts of noises at press conferences against it.

Anyway, this little political reality about the PM is what will make the cabinet list of the grand calition the most interesting and titillating read for Kenyans since David Mailu’s After 4:30 novelette released in the 70s to feverish sales. Or since Robert Ludlum’s last edge-of-the-seat suspense thriller (you take your pick).

A section of Kalenjin MPs have already said that the fairest thing would be for the ODM side of the grand coalition cabinet to have at least half the MPs from their community. And with good reason. Not only does this group have numerical power in parliament, but no other community contributed more and sacrificed more to partly reverse the stolen election of last December. In fact the contribution of the Kalenjin cannot be compared to that of all other communities put together. They are the reason why we now have a grand coalition government.

So the first thing to look out for in the list (that could even be released today) is if their request has been fulfilled by Arap Mibei. If it has then it is only fair to expect the community to be the most powerful block in the 10th parliament.

If the request hasn’t been met, then you can expect some fireworks within ODM.

However knowledgeable experts say that it will be impossible for arap Mibei to fulfill this particular request and what will most probably happen is that the cabinet will have a substantial representation from the Kalenjin community and Arap Mibei will then cut other deals with the community to appease them. The truth is that whatever ODM supporters say, the survival of the premier heavily depends on his treating the Kalenjin well.

Which brings us to another thorny issue. What do you think the Prime Minister would do if he were to find a Kalenjin member of the cabinet involved in corruption. My dear readers I leave that question with you.

P.S. Apparently my post of yesterday depicting the burning of Kenyans in Naivasha did not reveal my position clearly concerning George Saitoti’s planned prosecution of poll violence perpetrators. Let me make my stand and that of many Kenyans clear in one sentence. Prosecute everybody or prosecute nobody. And by everybody I mean Martha Karua, Kivuitu and cronies, Kabando wa Kabando, George Saitoti etc.

Incidentally a poll carried out by KTN last night showed that 39% of Kenyans are for amnesty to all post election violence perpetrators. I am sure these are the Kenyans who understand that justice is always extremely selective in Kenya.

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Anonymous said...

And this selective justice will only fuel further ethnic animosity and hatred at a time when the country cant afford it.

A bit of wisdom is needed in approaching these issues.

Anonymous said...

yes prosecute everybody or nobody....And before bloggers start calling me all sort of names hear me out, let us not have selective amnesia here the way Saitoti and Kiunjuri did in parliament the other day....Lives were lost in Eldoret ..Yes they were burnt in church, and yes there were lives also lost in Naivasha, they were burnt in a house, i just dont know how they keep forgetting that....police shot left, right and centre apparently that day rubber bullets were out of stock in the armoury, and miraculously just from nowhere they appeared during the mungiki raid in Naivasha.....Kibera and Mathare residents were pulled from their houses and shot and some were hacked to death.....Where was Saitoti that day si they were quiet, Kiunjuri i think was not yet born by February this year so i might as well excuse him....Families can confirm to you that till today they don't know where the members of their families are, what they know is that he went to look for a job and has never returned.....BBC reported that there was a meeting held in statehouse whereas we dont hear of a meeting held in kericho, Eldoret...The only meeting i have heard is of luo/luhya leaders and powerbrokers having a meeting to see ways of bringing the IDPs back to their ancestral homes....If this whole thing was organised and they knew it well in advance how come as a govt they did not put measures to stop the whole thing? They were the govt, as Martha said they had the state apparatus and NSIS...My question is why did they allow it to go this far?
There was fighting in Kuresoi, Molo and Mt. Elgon as early as October 2007, where were they?
It is said here there is a CROSS to endure before a CROWN...I want to agree with a blogger who said yesterday, if all these things had not taken place Kibs would be sitted pretty in statehouse and feeling nothing...What did he say " Niliambiwa nimeshinda bas...kama uko na neno enda kortini!!!
Though i was small at that time, i remeber running battles in town when Ouko died, i remember saba saba when Matiba's, Orengo's were fighting for multiparty struggle and i guess even there people died....but Moi gave in....So i am just thinking as Ruto said sacrifices...No one deserved to die but people did...It would have been Me or you Chris or any of the bloggers who had been trapped and died but here today we can see the fruits of the struggle...The good book says weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning..I want to believe that our redemption draws nigh.....You see bloggers before any leader will think of stealing an election, they will think hard!!!
A good example is Rwanda, they fought and now they are emerging that i hear it is called the Switzerland of Africa.....No pain no gain!!!

About the PM thing let us be optimistic for a while, if an MP will be caught with his pants down that is his cross i don't think he will want to hide under his community....It is the community's wrath that will discipline errant members...I want to believe that Kenyans wame erevuka and they know what they want and they will not stop until they get what they want!!!!


Anonymous said...

If Kibaki, Rucy, Gicheru, Karua, Kiraitu,Murungaru, Uhuru, Karume committed crimes, let them carry their own crosses.

Do you realize the list is longer? There are also good Kikuyus (who are obviously Gema enemies: Githongo, Maathai). If the above named culprits were good leaders, they could have stopped the rigging and even postponed the illegal swearing-in of the president.

Let the law apply equaly to Ruto just like the culprits from Mt Kenya, who are clearly the ROOT (Ruto?) CAUSE.

Please dont mistake ROOT with RUTO.

Anonymous said...

It is true the PM is vulnerable position because unlike in the case of impeaching a sitting president the parliament will not be dissolved and no fresh election will be called. I think as it has been argued here before that the creation of PM and DPM was not about appeasing a certain electorate if we are to have a fair regional and gender balancing.

It is true the Kalenjin contributed the highest number of votes from a single community to the ODM vote pool and it is upon Raila to appease them. However, if we look at the demographics, they are not a powerful block in the 10th parliament to threaten Raila. They comprise about 30 Mps. The Gema have about 50, Luyhia 24, Luo 22 and Kamba 17. A simple majority would require at least 112 Mps 224.

A motion of no confidence would thus require alliance across all the large tribal grouping to be successful. I don’t think Gema and Kalenjin alliance is possible in the near future especially after post election violence in RV. Let also look at this way, with Mudavadi and some unknown PNU MP as DPM, the kalenjin move will not work as the luyhia and Gema would not support it. If you send the PM home it means the deputies will also pack.

Anonymous said...

I will understand if Kales get a huge stake in gvt.Truth be told they have paid a heavy price for ODM and Kenya as a whole to be where it is today.

They did in 6 weeks what Luos have been unable to do in the past 40 years.

Give credit where it's due!

Anonymous said...

Did you not ask yourself, why the Kelnjins did this? Was it not because they wanted to save themselves? Was is not because they know they have contributed to Kenya's downfall under Moi? Was it not because they continued doing so even under Kibaki? Was it not because they fear to have to pay - finally - for all those committed crimes? Was it not because they may be made responsible for the 'ethnic cleaninsing' after the Ouko-riots where Kalenjins used the opportunity to 'clean' their area from the Kikuyus and take their land? Was it not because they still feel they have to 'defend' Moi and his family? Was it not because they are bribed and paid by a certain Nicholas Biwott who knew very well that he himself had no chance to be reelected (the same like Moi's sons) but who was so clever to present his Kenyan wife Margret Kamar (forget the title 'Professor' because it was given to her by Moi as Chancellor of Moi University without any qualification) - so he secured his 'peace from any prosecution for committed crimes (including the killing not only of Robert Ouko but of many others) -

Ask yourself all these questions and if you find the answer, let me know.

But I said 'answers' and not just some unqualified offences and excuses.

Kenya has no time for nonsense - its people deserve to know the truth and not just some 'tribally explained excuses'.

Anonymous said...

We still think in the tribal lines.Why???

I dont care how many ministers come from my area as long as the problems are solved.

Dont you know that Baringo Central, Gatundu South and Othaya are some of the poorest constituencies?

We need ministers who can tackle the itching issues facing Kenyans.

The issues are:

1)Education: 8-4-4 is expensive, unjust and ineffective. A sharp minister should introduce 8-3-2-3 system. All provincial and district schools to be national schools for A-Levels.

The craze about degree oriented education must stop. Vocational Schools must be expanded to offer handwork/technical training alongside academic courses.

2)Inequality (gender,tribal,wealth)

The PM must see that wealth is distributed equally. This means college places to be reserved to poorer provinces. State appointments to be equally shared between tribes, women/men without reducing qualification levels.

All roads joining major towns must be given priority and developed to a high standard. No Cow-boy contractors. All cotractors must be accountable for the quality of work.

A country where you feel safe only by having private guards is not a country. The gov must be in-charge of security for ALL.

5)Investment and Services

Local people must be assisted to invest in their local towns. Business and employment opportunities must be created for and by the local people to avoid overpopulation in the cities. Every Province should have its Development Bank.

6)Environment and Public Health

Some hotels and public buildings are so dirty that people`s health are always in danger.

The minister for health has to set a cleanliness standard for all hotels, hospitals and gov offices.

Environment degradation should be discouraged.


Corruption cases must be followed. Amnesty should be given to past cases ONLY if the involved accept their sins and are ready to pay back money they stole. KACC Boss should get a year's contract, renewed on condition that he/she is successfull. KACC should have powers to arrest and charge people in court (corruption courts should be introduced).

Kenya can only be a good place to live in when we have good intelligent ministers/(Excecutive) and not unqualified tribal ministers.

Anonymous said...

Annon 3.22AM
What is the heavy price Kales paid for ODM and Kenya as whole? They were comfortable in the goverment and Kanu during the so called 2nd liberation.
Yeah it is true they did kill so many people in 6 days than all other kenyan tribes combined have in 40 yrs

Anonymous said...


As a businessman in Nairobi i can understand the passion with which Kales approached the last election. They had to find their way into govt, whatever the cost. I have had the opportunity of working with a few of them. Am telling you business has never been worse for them in the last five years, especially those who depended on lucrative govt contracts during the Moi years.

Two things happened after 2002 that really made them bitter. One, the govt contracts were no longer available to them, so most of their businesses collapsed. Two, most of them found themselves without (free spending) cash that they were used to. Most banks that they had milked of cash found the spine to recall the loans. It has been a terrible 5 years......


Phil said...

Anon at 3.22am what myopic view!

IS the Rift Valley the ancestral land of the Luos? Its about time Kikuyus learnt to respect and cohabit in harmony with their neighbours. Lets see how far Kikuyus will co-exist with Kambas after Kalonzo re-settles them in Ukambani.

And to you Chris, after persistently peddling the myth that Raila (as a Luo) was unelectable as president, you have now come up with another shortsighted conclusion that Ruto is RVP power broker. Well, well, where were all these MPs when Ruto and Sirma were campaigning for his nominations as ODM-k/ODM presidential candidate, while known RVP powerbrokers like Ntimama, Kosgei, Cheruiyot, Kulei, Kones and others stood by Raila although Ruto is from their province.

We know the Kombos, Nyachaes, Kalonzos have tried to rally their ethnic communities behind ill fated presidential bids. Now they all struggling to remain relevant. Ruto himself knows it; thats why he beat a hasty retreat. Ruto is NO match for Raila politically and infact owes his presence in the pentagon to Raila...even Mudavadi is more presidential material than ruto and Kalonzo. Infact I dare say, Ruto is still playing in Div II, while Raila is in the premiership teaching Kibaki how NOT to score own-goals. Soon Raila will be tackling the champions league (read EAC/AU) while you-know-who will still be struglling to be a tribal chief, let alone a PM or president. Ruto made a weak attempt to lay claim on the same seat in parliament the other day...I have one question for his; was his name anywhere on the infamous MOU of 2002?

Chris, I may also add. No other politician has brought together such ethnic diversity into one opposition political party. Even the Kibakis and MOis of this world never did it with RULING parties. Raila has done it twice. In NARC and in ODM.

Lets see the Kamatusa alliance formed now, and lets see if it will take Kikuyus and Kalenjins anywhere.

Duru za kuaminika za sema; Baraza la Mawaziri litatangazwa Jumamosi ijayo. Watch this space for ODM proposed list. Surprise, Surprise!

Meanwhile Samuel W. Ndindiri the Clerk of the National Assembly - who has been in Nairobi Hospital ICU since the acrimonious Speakers Elections - is said not to be showing any signs of recovery but is in stable condition. This blogger wishes him speedy recovery and hopes that recent political events will help clerk Ndidiri recover soon.

Chicity said...

Chris, I know it's a slow news day but... Can we stop with all this speculation???? Raila hasn't even started work PM and we are already talking about how alliances will be formed to bring him down. May be he will do his job and thus win the support of members across the divide OR frustrate those who want business as usual and face some backlash. In the same vein, he may not live up to the hefty expectations everyone has and then your "vulnerability" scenario will come into play. For most of my life, this man has been deemed vulnerable, unelectable, dangerous for Kenya's stability and even existence. Yet, he won his party's nomination, ODM did not collapse and millions turned out to vote for him. I'd like to believe they were not full time residents of Mars shuttled in for the limited purpose of trying to assist this hitherto unelectable man ascend to power. He is now going to be Kenya's second Prime Minister [despite winning the election!] I doubt this happened because he is a magician!

Therefore, let us learn to sometimes sit back and just watch, [in spite of the irresistable impulse/urge to play the Oracle] without always assuming that we know or even have an idea what's going down in the next 6 minutes. There's immense power in that sometimes.

Anywho - it is frustrating to constantly read about certain MPs claiming that their communities suffered more than others, post 12/30 and therefore must be rewarded. What about the communities who've been marginalized since independence simply because of their views? Do they also have a right to demand that now is the time for their just desserts? The astounding outcome of the elections was a collective effort - yes Rift Valley's support was without question instrumental. But, Kenya is a country of 42 tribes. By virtue of the way the country's provinces are mapped, Rift Valley will always have more votes. Does that mean that they must dominate the seats of Government? We cannot continue to demand that national office be apportioned based on tribal support. Contrary to popular belief and custom, these instruments of power were not created to serve tribes. We have to change the way we think about the role of Government otherwise we will always have the tyrany of the majority derailing our political institutions.

To all those who insist that this and this tribe must be rewared, are there 3 million Ministries to be dished out to reward the tribes that sacrificed the most? Of course not. Only the man or woman who gets the appointment and his/her family will TRULY benefit from the "reward" via better education , healthcare, life for their families, huge jump in tax brackets almost overnight. Meanwhile, the tribe will still be waiting for piped water, employment opportunities, roads, new health facilities, well equipped schools to finally become reality. So, let's not get it twisted folks!

Lastly, I am for the idea that the upcoming reforms should divest the Cabinet from the Legislature. That is the only way we will have complete separation from the executive and this primitive scramble for rewards. And we really don't need 34 Ministries. The US which is the wealthiest country on earth, with a whopping population of approx 300 million has 15 executive departments. Kenya withe significantly less resources has 34. Why do we need separate Ministries for Agric/ Livestock, Trade & Industry/ Commerce? Cooperative Development/Regional Dev, Educ/Science & Tech? And yes, before you jump up telling me about the US's failures, and imperfections, it is a system that works, and yes they waste money too sometimes but they are not out begging for donor funds to help build highways, hospitals, water and electrification programs! It's time the Kenya govt. tried for once to do its job as efficiently as possible, be practical by trimming the excess fat and slashing those obscene salaries and benefits for MPs!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kumekuchans,
The direction we are taking is not good. We can hardly discuss any issue without concentrating on the tribal aspect of it. It pains me to see bloggers now ganging against the Kalenjins.

While the rest of the country is healing and talking about Kenya as one, others here are still ensconced in their tribal prisms. It is true many things in Kenyans' lives are controlled by ethnic dispositions...but isn't that the same thing we want to put behind our back in the new Kenya we are creating? We have complained that politicians use ethnic arithmetic to claim their stakes in Kenya's politics. We are the same people who should show them how not to do so. If Luos are already saying nasty things about Kalenjins, then where are we headed to? Incidentally, whereas non-Kalenjins are calculating how they can outdo them, among the Kalenjins themselves, there is scheming on how the South Rift ones should be given a bigger slice of the cake than the North Rift ones and among the South Rift ones, the Kericho-Bureti-Molo ones are saying they are more progressive than the Sotik-Bomet ones. This goes down to individual families!!!
Let us write here on how we can be Kenyans first and tribes last. In this we shall never overtake Tanzania.

Anonymous said...

The precarious position Raila (and any other future appointee) will be in as PM is good for Kenya. He/She will not lord it over any one. He/She will work by consensus. He/She will have to do what pleases the majority in order to keep his/her job. As such, psychophancy and hardline stances will die a natural death and the end result will be that Kenya will be led through fairness.
The presidency should also be made weaker so that the president is naturally obliged to do what pleases the majority. Isn't democracy about a government of the majority, by the majority and for the majority?
Let us not just see RAILA as PM. Let us see a KENYAN as PM.

Anonymous said...

Kenyans' value system is skewed. They want leaders of their tribes, not because they will add value to their lives, but simply due to the "feel good" phenomenon. Many Kikuyus now in IDPs still want Kibaki as president, despite the fact that he has contributed to their misery-just because it feels good that he is a Kikuyu. Some Luos who have never benefited from Raila being their MP in Kibera still want him to be PM- just because it feels good that he is a Luo. Many Luhya's were irked when Kalembe Ndile showed interest in the Emuhaya seat. They'd rather choose Muchilwa who wasted their time for 5 years-just because it feels good that he is a Luhya.

The day we shall see people for who they are and not what they are is the day Kenya will become the true rainbow nation of Africa.

Anonymous said...

I agree fully - and I have a proposal although I know already that the majority of you will laugh it off saying 'no way, our MP's will never agree to this' - still I dare to make this proposal:

In Switzerland MP's do not receive a monthly/yearly allowance but receive a daily allowance for the time they have spent in the Parliament proven by signing the entry time 'in and out' .... like you do when going to work.

This assures them to get the allowance for that day - nothing else - and let me tell you that it is just enough cover their expenses - maybe even not that.

Being an MP is regarded as an honour and not as a possibility to rob the country.

In case you want to know more about the 'Swiss system', ask the Embassy in Nairobi. I am sure, they will be pleased to give you more information.

But I doubt that any of your MP's will be interested to listen !!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Please Chris ponder the following:

Suppose some people came and killed you under the excuse that you voted the wrong way, or that somebody from your tribe allegedly rigged the elections, and the KTN had to conduct a survey among the killers whether they want amnesty or punishment - how would your grieving loved ones feel? Have you stopped to ask yourself why only ODM leaders and followers are asking for amnesty? In the recent past, ODM was quoting the international community like a bible yet now they are quiet when the UN is demanding punishment of the post-election murderous barbarians. And you Chris, look at the names that you automatically spit out when you say punish all - Karua, Kivuitu, Kabando, Saitoti. Why can't you at least try to hid your bias by including one ODM name? Do you still fear that even Raila, your hero, will be exercising selective justice, now that he is the PM? It is obvious that under the pretext of "fairness in pursuit of justice," some Kenyans are asking for impunity. Let us pray that politically/tribally instigated death never pays a visit to their homestead.

Please Chris be a voice for all victims regardless of tribe or political persuasion. Let us unite as one nation when it comes to punishing murderers and ethnic cleansers.

Anonymous said...

Chicity I 2nd u on those points!

Omar said...

As a Kenyan of the Diaspora (22years+)
I have this to say:
1. Speculation is the mother of all gossip
2. It has always been my belief that one day Kenya will elect the right person to LEAD
3. Despite ALL the years, I have always remained a Kenyan at heart, without tribe, without political afiliation, so I am neither ODM or PNU or any of the other nefarious political entities of opportunistic vehicle carriers that appear to spring from nowhere during election periods. Kenyans need to be sober, clear thinkers and patriotic. What am I alluding to here? The preposterous idea that someone knows how the PM will govern. Why not wait and see what sort of signals are sent out?
Personally, I believe that having a PM answer questions once a week is very good mechanism to instill responsibility, truthfulness and opennes in government as well as being a pointer as to the intent, policy wise. The idea that there are tribal stalkers just waiting to pounce during a low quorum does not have merit. It is the people who will decide, i.e. Public perceptions speak louder than thick skinned MPs. There is a need to exercise wisdom and patience, and a sense of hope for things to get better as we mature as a people. Let us enable the new government to meet our needs and aspirations. It is we the people who count in the end. Governments come and go, but we remain. Focus on what you can do for Kenya and its peoples, and not what the government can do for you. Don't be a bystander, participate!

Abass said...

anon 12:26, it maybe true it is most ODM supporters that maybe seeking for amnesty. So in answer to your question as to why t is so, I would say it just in 2 words 'selective justice'. ODMers know that as long as someone like Martha or Gicheru and their likes are the people on top of the judiciary, there will always be selective justice.

Kimi Raikkonen said...

Why Jitters that there might be selective justice? That is the behaviour of guilty people. If Karua says there will be no amnesty, and she has said so repeatedly, then it is very likely it will happen, no matter how many times you call her names. Why not wait for the investigative commission to come up with its report and recommendations on the perpetrators before jumping all over the place saying there will be selective justice? Take it easy.
Some Kalenjin MPs thought that this time would never come. Well there is a time and place for everything, and Kibaki is a very patient man. Raila also knows there are some things Kibaki cannot compromise on, not unless he wants to risk his support base in GEMA country, and Raila will not even attempt to save the Kalenjin perpetrators. Ruto was stupid enough to speak negatively against Kikuyus in support of ethnic cleansing in the RV and it is a matter of record. Why have Sally Kosgei, Henry Kosgei not been implicated? It is because they were smart enough not to be heard talking publicly of ethnic cleansing or anti-Kikuyu rhetoric. That is what a clever politician does, speak little but carry a big stick.
This is the opening Raila needed to get rid of Ruto and work with politicians he rehabilitated like Sally and Henry Kosgei, Zakayo Cheruiyot etc all former Moi loyalists who are now grateful to him and owe him allegiance. Ruto is too independent and too polarising. Too bad. He made his bed, he must lie on it.
Some hotheads think that they can threaten Kibaki with violence or whatever if he touches Ruto. Many of these voluble, clueless loudmouths have no idea whatsoever what kind of violence options Kibaki has at his disposal. Just 10 truckloads from the Army and two helicopters have sent the so called Sabaot LDF scampering into their holes in a mere two weeks. Mt Elgon is effectively under the control of the Army, and they can stay there indefinitely. The SLDF cant do nothing. What would happen if Kibaki unleashed the full force of the Armed forces on the so called Kalenjin warriors? Two Air Force F5s with napalm would wipe them off the face of the earth in ten minutes. Just get to know the forest they are hiding in and raze it.
The only person who can save Ruto is Kibaki himself, so maybe he should go and talk to him nicely and ask for amnesty without conditions.

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

Am from rift valley and i do not support ethnic cleansing. These our leaders only benfit themselves. They will run away when we are alligned in caught for taking wrong actions to support their cause. I feel justice should take course, but i dont think Karua and Gisheru should do it. We may need a neutral justice system - may the truth and reconciliation comission should appoint judges to this. I get concerned when i see all reports are pointing towards a certain community. Am abit afraid.

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