THE TRUTH ON THE COLLAPSE OF THE KILAGUNI TALKS
A PRESS STATEMENT FROM ODM
The ORANGE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT wishes to state that the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, the Rt. Hon Raila Amolo Odinga (the Prime Minister), and the ODM members of the Permanent Committee on the Management of Grand Coalition Affairs (the Permanent Committee) went to Kilaguni retreat in order to identify, isolate, discuss and resolve all the issues affecting the smooth running of the Grand Coalition Government.
We did this in order to enable the country move forward. It was in recognition of the fact that without resolution of these issues, the Grand Coalition Government would not be able to deliver on the People’s Agenda set out in the National Accord. The full and faithful implementation of the National Accord, in both letter and spirit, is well over-due.
The primary purpose of the Permanent Committee is to ensure that the Grand Coalition Government can function and resolve issues within it.
Unfortunately we were not able to agree on issues for discussion; issues which had been agreed on before hand. In fact,by March 14, 2009, the Joint Secretaries had prepared a Draft Agenda, which was typed and printed by the Presidency and Cabinet Office in the Office of the President on March 14th, and which ODM tabled at Kilaguni, contained the following items for discussion:
- President’s opening remarks
- Prime Minister’s opening remarks
- Minutes of Meetings held on 6th and 11th February,2009 (to be tabled)
- Matters arising
- Draft Terms of Reference and Working Modalities of the Permanent Committee
- Draft Grand Coalition Agreement
- Confidence Building within the Coalition
- National Unity and National Cohesion Agenda
- Issues affecting the Grand Coalition and mechanisms for resolution
- Evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the national accord report
- Image building for the Grand Coalition
- Prof. Philip Alston’s report and Institutional Reforms
- Review of progress on the implementation of the national accord, including agenda 4
- Collective Responsibility
- De-politicization of the Public Service
- Any Other Business
At its first meeting on February 6th, 2006, the Permanent Committee had agreed that in order for the Grand Coalition to run smoothly, a Grand Coalition Agreement and Terms of Reference and working modalities for the Permanent Committee needed to be prepared.
Indeed, the Joint Secretaries researched on ,met, discussed and consulted extensively on both instruments. Draft copies of both documents were subsequently prepared and circulated to the members of the Permanent Committee by the Joint Secretaries for discussion at Kilaguni. This was done more than one week prior to the Kilaguni Retreat.
In point of fact, both PNU and ODM agreed in the Draft Terms of Reference and Working Modalities that whatever either party wanted to be on the agenda for discussion would be included for deliberation.
In addition, the permanent committee’s meetings were to be closed to non-members.
The Kilaguni discussions were scheduled to take place on Friday, April 3rd, to Sunday, April 6th, inclusive. It was agreed that apart from security, only members of the Permanent Committee plus the two Joint Secretaries, would attend the meting.
However, upon arrival at Kilaguni, the ODM team found the entire place swarming with more than one hundred officers from the Office of the President (OP). The Director of National Security Intelligence Service, the Head of Public Service, the State House Controller & Private Secretary to the President and horde of other senior officials that ought not to have be there, were brought there by PNU team. The PNU coalition also invited Hon. Mutula Kilonzo and Noah Wekesa, who are not members of the Permanent Committee, in clear breach of the Terms of Reference and Modalities already agreed upon.
To make matters worse, the PNU coalition came armed with a Draft Agenda which was different from the joint agenda that had been agreed to and distributed to members.
The ODM team requested the PNU Coalition Members of the Permanent Committee to agree for the Joint Draft Agenda to be tabled for adoption and discussion to no avail.
Upon realizing that the PNU coalition did not intend to abide by the Joint Agenda, the ODM team prepared a second draft agenda with the following items:
- Management of the Grand Coalition
- Membership of the Permanent Committee & setting up of the Joint Secretariat
- Decision making and Government Communication
- Appointments in government
- The State of the Economy
- Security Organs
- Implementation of the National Accord
- Coalition Agreement (see minutes of Feb. 5th, 2009, page 3)
- Prof. Philip Alston’s report
- Fast Tracking Reform Agendas 1,2,3 and 4 agreed to at the Serena Talks
The ODM team then asked their PNU Coalition Partners to attend the meeting and have both Draft Agendas discussed so that an amicable decision could be made with respect of the issues of discussion but the PNU team flatly refused, insisting that it was their draft agenda or nothing.
The Prime Minister and the entire Permanent Committee went into the conference room on Saturday, April 4th, 2009 and attempted to resolve the differences without success. The Prime Minister then asked the PNU team to invite the President to come to the conference room so that all the contentious issues could be discussed and resolved. Unfortunately, the President refused to attend.
Both teams went for lunch and returned to the Conference Room with Prime Minister, hoping that the President would attend but this never happened. However after the Prime Minister asked for a brief break for consultations at about 2:30 PM, the president approached the conference room rather than stay and sit, he proceeded to a private office located on the second floor of the conference room.
Believing that the President was in the conference room ,the Prime Minister and the ODM team returned only to be met by Hons. Uhuru Kenyatta , Moses Wetangula and George Saitoti, asking the Prime Minister to go upstairs to the President.
It was at this point that the Prime Minister correctly advised the PNU team to invite the President to the conference room of the meeting. The President either refused to come down to the meeting. Instead, the PNU team started discussing “the need for an exit strategy”. They wanted the Prime Minister and the ODM team to agree to issue a Joint Press Statement in which the country was to be misled that the Kilaguni Talks had gone on well.
At about 3:30pm, the Prime Minister and the ODM team realized that neither the President nor the PNU team wanted to discuss the serious issues ailing our country. A decision was then made for the Prime Minister to return to his hotel room as both teams continued to stay in the conference room.
Barely ten minutes after the Prime Minister returned to his hotel room, the President climbed down and went back to his suite. The President did not even greet the ODM team. He passed the prime Minister’s room even without stopping to say “Jambo!”.
The meeting had collapsed!
ODM believed that we cannot have a functioning Government and Coalition without an honest recognition, isolation and resolution of the issues affecting the Grand Coalition and the country at large.
PNU, on the other hand, insists issues cannot even be discussed and that the retreat was meant as a PR exercise!
ODM is fully committed to have service delivery to all Kenyans; a serious discussion of all issues affecting the people of Kenya, particularly poverty and the state of the economy, unemployment, inequalities and inequities in resource allocation and distribution, grand corruption, extra-judicial killings, institutional reforms and legal reforms; and comprehensive constitutional review.
It is common knowledge that the National Accord provides for real power sharing in Government between President Kibaki / PNU Coalition and Prime Minister Raila Odinga / ODM. Yet one year and a half following the formation of the Grand Coalition Government, the only power that has been shared with ODM is the cabinet. President Kibaki continues to disregard the provisions of the national Accord and indeed the constitution by making major decisions affecting all Kenyans without regard to his coalition partner.
This situation must change!
We hope and expect the leaders of the PU coalition will show good faith and join us in attempting to address issues affecting our nation and people. But this must be done in full compliance with the National Accord. Reforms cannot be bought by lies, half truths, concoctions and power games by the PNU coalition.