It's now six months since the events of December 2007 made necessary the formation of a coalition government. In that time, a lot has happened that makes it necessary for us to wonder whether Kenya's is truly a coalition government or two separate and unequal governments.
Here are the pertinent issues.
1. After the elections, it was my understanding, and that of most Kenyans, that one of the most critical issues that faced the nation was the restructuring of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. There was a man called Samuel Kivuitu who had disgraced himself so irreparably that the only redemptive way out for him was to resign, then be charged with aiding and abetting fraudulence in an election. As things stand, this matter seems to have effectively been shelved by the Kibaki side of the government. What I have to wonder is...by agreeing to participate in the by-elections recently held, was the ODM side saying Kivuitu is just fine? Is reforming this discredited body still a priority, or must Kenyans wait till we are close to another election before our perpetually shortsighted politicians sense that this matter could lead to another meltdown?
2. The matter of the constitution was supposed to be a top priority. Indeed, it was the understanding of Kenyans that the government was going to move with speed to address the many issues our constitution fell short on. Land Policy. Distribution of resources. Gender equality. Religious freedom. Six months later, what we've witnessed is the PNU side, led by Amos Kimunya, reading a budget that failed to allocate any funds for this critical exercise. The question again is...what's the ODM storyline here? Are we waiting for 2011 to start scrambling? It will be the biggest failure of leadership if the PNU side hoodwinks us and successfully sends Kenya to another election under the unrepresentative constitution.
3. The IDPs were supposed to have been settled by now. What in the world are our brothers and sisters still doing in the cold and the unforgiving rains of the season? Where is the money that was allocated for the exercise of settling these folks, and why can't the exercise be commenced and done with the competence and compassion it deserves? Six months later? Shame on all of us! But again, where is the ODM on this matter? Are we waiting for 2011, when we are looking for the votes of these suffering mothers and fathers? Where is action, folks?
4. The final urgent matter is the amnesty issue. On this, we know that the Kibaki side of the government wants to prosecute what they call criminals. The Odinga side wants to forgive and foster reconciliation. These are two visions that have a bearing on the future of our nation. Like I've always warned, the Kibaki team is hell-bent on scapegoating the small man for the election debacle. To the PNU, everything would have been just fine if Kibaki's theft of the election had gone unchallenged and the Mungiki was given a free reign. Well, to ODM's credit, this is a matter that has been pursued with gusto. But that's not enough. At some point it must be made clear that there is a time limit to the call for amnesty. The ODM must let Kenyans know what steps will be taken if the other side of the government insists on punishing the small man and letting the real criminals go free.
Those are the big four. Indeed, it would be enough if from here on out, the two governments concentrated on resolving those four issues only. Those issues are enough to occupy us till 2012. If we don't get them right, God forbid that we should face another election so soon!
That said, here are the other arising matters.
a. The Cabinet
It's now clear that while folks in the PNU side are engaged in corruption on a grand scale, like the harrowing sale of the nation's landmark hotel, the folks in the ODM side are asking questions and working to stop the blatant looting going on. Does the fact that the Hon James Orengo was out of the loop on a matter of this magnitude inspire your confidence as a Kenyan? Hhmm. And you still call this a coalition?
b. Permanent Secretaries
Once upon a time we were told that this was supposed to be a 50-50 government. But when the two principals got behind closed doors and presented their list of PSs to the nation, what we saw was anything but a 50-50 split. We also saw a bunch of oldies. I understand and applaud the pragmatism that led the Prime Minister to swallow this bitter pill, but this matter aptly demonstrates the fact that what we have is two governments.
c. Diplomatic Assignments
It seems to me like once again the folks who were in these positions were merely affirmed. Where are the 50% that represent the ODM in the world's capitals?
d. Corporate Appointments
Again, point a finger at the 50% that represent the ODM.
As usual, I expect to be called an inciter and all manner of names for slapping the facts on the table. But if we don't deal with these matters on an honest basis, we'll only be fooling ourselves. Facts have a way of coming back to kick the butt of those who ignore them. So based on what has transpired in the six months, fellow Kenyans, what I see is two separate governments, one more powerful and more corrupt, the other less powerful but more patriotic.
For the sake of Kenya, I pray that the patriots will have an upper hand.
For Love of Country,
Guest post by Sam O. Okello