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Leaders to drive the reforms train

Saturday January 1 2011

File | NATION  A section of MPs at a press conference. Legislators will play a key role in the full implementation of the new Constitution.

File | NATION A section of MPs at a press conference. Legislators will play a key role in the full implementation of the new Constitution. 

By MUGUMO MUNENE AND JOHN NGIRACHU [email protected]

Kenya’s political landscape is set for a radical shift this year as President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga face up to the reality of replacing lieutenants implicated in corruption and crimes against humanity.

The President and the PM are on top of a list of personalities whose activities and institutions will help shape the events of the coming year and preparations for next year’s General Election.

On top of the list is also International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director Patrick Lumumba.

Only last week, Prof Lumumba presented to Attorney-General Amos Wako one case of corruption he has built against an unnamed minister and who will have to step aside or resign if formally charged.

Mr Lumumba has said he has three other ministers under investigation which he had hoped to complete by last week but the probe is still ongoing.

In addition to corruption suspects who will be required to vacate office is the cloud of crimes against humanity hanging on the case brought before the ICC by its chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

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Mr Moreno-Ocampo has set his sights on six suspects who include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey, both of whom are key national political players.

Should the ICC confirm charges against the six, President Kibaki and the PM will be faced with a new task of reorganising their government as their political lieutenants deal with the cases.

It is understood that the two principals are likely to wait and see whether the ICC judges will accept or reject the charges brought by Mr Moreno-Ocampo before making a move on Mr Kenyatta, Mr Kosgey, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Post Master General Hussein Ali, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

The two principals are also set to make changes in the police force as provided for in the new Constitution. According to the new Constitution, the regular and administration police commands will report to one Inspector General.

“The Government will also enhance security so that wananchi can freely engage in economic activities. The ongoing police reforms will be sustained to ensure a police service that is professional and accountable to the people,” said President Kibaki in his New Year’s speech.

The President and PM will also have on their in-tray the appointments of a new Chief Justice to replace Mr Justice Evan Gicheru, a new AG and an occupant for the new office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

This will also be the year when politicians with an eye on the presidency in 2012 begin to craft their strategies to win elections. Aside from the presidency, the political field will be excited by the new positions for governors and senators created by the new Constitution.

The Sunday Nation takes a look at some of the other leaders who are likely to shape national politics this year and how this will affect the bigger picture.

Kenneth Marende

The Speaker of the National Assembly finds himself in the unique position of running the affairs of the august House under the new Constitution and when Parliament is charged with the enormous task of passing the laws required to help bring the new Constitution to full life.

Kalonzo Musyoka

The VP has been trying to lay out an alliance with Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto. Both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto now face the possibility of long drawn trials before the ICC which could spell doom for Mr Musyoka’s strategy for the presidency or grant him a blessing in disguise. As Leader of Government Business in the House, he has the task of ensuring support for government agenda in Parliament.

Martha Karua

She has successfully shed her image as the number one defender of President Kibaki’s government and used her sharp eye, keen intellect and astute debating skill to become the de facto head of the opposition in Parliament.

She has put her abrasive nature into use in keeping the government on its toes in the fight against corruption.

Ms Karua has her eyes set on the presidency in 2012 and her steps this year will help to indicate how she stands among those seeking the high office.

Micah Cheserem

He has been freshly appointed to the new office of the Commission for Revenue Allocation which will play a critical role in the new constitutional dispensation as it will be the key link between the national government and county governments in terms of equitable allocation of revenue. The RAC will also monitor the national budget allocation to ensure balanced development countrywide and also decide on the budget numbers.

Charles Nyachae

As the chairman of the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution, Mr Nyachae chairs a team whose primary mandate is to keep up the momentum by which Kenyans passed the new laws in August last year. His task is to set the pace and ensure that Kenyans realise the full potential of the new Constitution.

Abdikadir Mohamed

The Mandera Central MP was virtually unknown at the beginning of 2010, but his steering of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Review through the Naivasha talks and the subsequent process marked him out as one of the leading lights of the reform process.

He now heads yet another important body, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution, which got off to a rocky start with his controversial election.

Nduva Muli

He heads the Kenya Railways Corporation, which has recently rebranded as it seeks to shed the image of a moribund money-guzzling parastatal and which is looking to change how Kenyans travel, especially in the traffic jam-prone Nairobi.

His major headache should be the construction of the Standard Gauge railway to replace the century-old Mombasa-Malaba track, and ease congestion and damage caused by trucks on the roads.

Mr Muli is also in charge of the project to upgrade the city’s railway system, which involves the construction of a track and a station at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Should he hack it, he would rate highly among most respected Kenyans.

Bob Collymore

Safaricom has established itself as Kenya’s biggest mobile phone services provider and the man from Guyana will be aware he is at the helm of a firm that is watched closely by Kenyans.

Perhaps his biggest challenge will be the price wars initiated by Airtel, complaints about the quality of its network and customer care and whether he will sustain the super profits posted in recent years.