Monday, April 20, 2009

ODM widens coalition rift

ODM secretary general Peter Anyang' Nyong'o at a news conference at Orange House on Monday. He accused coalition partner PNU of "stealing" the National Accord. He is with the party's executive officer Janet Ongera. Photo/ FREDRICK ONYANGO

ODM secretary general Peter Anyang' Nyong'o at a news conference at Orange House on Monday. He accused coalition partner PNU of "stealing" the National Accord. He is with the party's executive officer Janet Ongera. Photo/ FREDRICK ONYANGO 

By LUCAS BARASA

Squabbles within the Kenya Coalition Government heightened Monday with ODM accusing PNU of "stealing" the National Accord and interpreting it in a partisan manner.

"It is a pity that PNU leaders cannot wean themselves out of the mentality of stealing. ODM bent over to accept the Grand Coalition government with PNU after the PNU stole the votes of the Kenyan people in December 2007.

“Now the PNU leaders are bent on stealing the National Accord and interpreting it in a partisan and chauvinistic manner,” said the party’s Secretary General Anyang Nyongó at a news conference at Orange House in Nairobi.

He further said Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Internal Security minister George Saitoti, Nairobi Metropolitan’s Mutula Kilonzo and MP Johnstone Muthama’s did not feature anywhere on struggle for democracy and have no "credentials" to attack Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

"All they can do is to drum up ethnic chauvinism in Eastern and Central Province in a desperate attempt to cling to power undemocratically. I challenge them to go and speak in Kakamega or Kericho the way they did in Meru yesterday (Sunday)," Prof Nyongó said.

On Sunday, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi led the PNU coalition leaders in launching a blistering attack on Mr Odinga over demands by ODM for the removal of Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Government spokesman Alfred Mutua.

Prof Nyong’o said it was true Mr Odinga was interested in the presidency in line with Mr Murungi’s remarks as "he won the 2007 elections and everybody including Kriegler knows that."

South African judge Johanne Kriegler headed a team that investigated into the disputed 2007 presidential elections.

"Honourable Raila Amolo Odinga sacrificed being the President of Kenya so as to bring peace to Kenya and create time for constitutional and other reforms in Agenda IV of the National Accord. Our Party Leader, in the past as well as now, is committed to the second liberation in word and deed," Prof Nyongó said.

The secretary general said PNU misinterpreted the Accord to derail the reform process and perpetuate its leaders in power.

However, he said, ODM plans to use its majority in Parliament to implement reforms.

The party restated that Mr Muthaura and Mr Mutua’s offices should be reconstituted in line with the National Accord which it said requires that the offices be filled with the consultation and concurrence between the ODM and PNU.

"This has so far not been done with regard to many other such offices, but these two are urgent since they directly affect the daily operations of the coalition."

The party said worldwide such offices are reconstituted when new government takes over and that was why Mr Muthaura’s predecessor, Sally Kosgey was shown the door when Narc came to power.

"Dr Kosgey was much younger and more educated than Muthaura but was removed," Prof Nyong’o said.

He said Mr Muthaura and Dr Mutua were PNU operatives "who have created unnecessary conflict in Government due to their partisan leadership."

The demand for the removal of the two was a party decision arrived at during its parliamentary group-cum National Executive Council meeting in Naivasha and not Mr Odinga’s.

However, it was the responsibility of Mr Odinga to ensure the Accord was implemented, Prof Nyong’o said.

The Medical Services minister was accompanied by ODM executive director Janet Ongéra and head of legal affairs Mugambi Imanyara.

 

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