Africa’s Journal

Your source for African news.

Kenya’s peace pact faces new hurdles

Posted by africasjournal on March 12, 2008

Published from The Herald

NAIROBI. Kenya’s newly signed power sharing agreement between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga is facing fresh hurdles after a senior official appeared to whittle down the powers of the yet to be created office of premier.

The agreement which was signed late last month creates the position of prime minister, which analysts have described as very interesting in terms of what exactly would be the responsibilities of the two offices, the president and the PM.

Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura said late on Monday that in spite of a power-sharing deal, the office of an all-powerful presidency remains intact.

But his statement was immediately dismissed by the opposition, Orange Democratic Movement, who argued that Muthaura was usurping the role of parliament which is expected to debate and put into the constitution the power sharing agreement.

According to Muthaura, who is also the secretary to the cabinet, the president will retain the powers to appoint the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and cabinet ministers under the power- sharing agreement brokered by Kofi Annan. But a group allied to ODM immediately protested at the move by Muthaura saying he lacked the powers to interpret the power-sharing deal.

“Any statement clarifying, interpreting or explaining the content of the National Accord must be jointly released by the two principals — Kibaki and Raila,” an ODM’s statement read by former cabinet minister Amukowa Anangwe said.

“The prime minister shall have authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the government, including those of ministries,” he said. Speaking to journalists on Monday, Muthaura seemed to imply that even though the office of the premier would be created, the president would continue to enjoy unbridled executive powers in a business-as-usual kind of situation.

He sought to lower the stature of the PM’s office, which he said, would come third in the protocol pecking order, and therefore it would be unlikely that the PM would supervise the VP if the latter holds a ministerial position.

“The vice president, prime minister, deputy prime ministers and all ministers are directly responsible to the president. The president will continue to chair the cabinet,” Muthaura said.

The opposition party also said the power sharing pact encapsulated what it described as “the genuine desire of Kenyans.” ODM said that Kenyans had begun the slow process of healing, reconciliation and rebuilding their shattered lives and “would not accept to be dragged back to the period of mayhem, violence and disruption by retrogressive forces bent on resisting changes.” — Xinhua.

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