Raila calls for truce in war with rivals

Wednesday March 9 2011

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (right) greets William Ole Ntimama during the round table meeting with civil society at Nairobi's Kenyatta International Conference Centre on March 9, 2011. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (right) greets William Ole Ntimama during the round table meeting with civil society at Nairobi's Kenyatta International Conference Centre on March 9, 2011. PHOTO/STEPHEN MUDIARI 

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday extended an olive branch to his political opponents.

After weeks of exchanging harsh words in public with the Uhuru Kenyatta-William Ruto alliance, Mr Odinga warned that personality wars and ethnic alliances would derail the momentum of reforms.

Unity among leaders and communities, he said, was of paramount importance.

“We must work together to ensure that our politics feature maximum debate about ideology and policy and minimum or zero focus on ever-shifting alliances, based largely on ethnicity and personality wars,” Mr Odinga, who was addressing the PM’s round table with the civil society said on Wednesday.

Vulgar language

Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta have taken to publicly attacking Mr Odinga, who has responded in kind, forcing the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to warn them against using vulgar language. (Read: Kenyan leaders escalate public verbal wars)

Mr Odinga appeared keen to allay fears among lobby groups that the political wars had slowed down implementation of the new Constitution.

Transparency International Kenya executive director Sam Kimeu warned that the leaders’ trading abuses in public could impact negatively on next year’s General Election.

“We have concerns about the pace of implementation of the new Constitution,” said Mr Kimeu adding: “We are lagging behind so much that we are concerned that we may have problems having elections next year.”

Ms Wanjiru Gikonyo of the Institute for Social Development also criticised the government for running a disjointed implementation programmes for devolution.

She proposed the establishment of a coordinating agency housed at the Constitution Implementation Commission offices to run the devolution programme.

The groups also asked the government to fast track the establishment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The lobby groups also expressed concern over corruption in government and the impunity that still exists.

According to Mr Kimeu, government has been working in direct conflict with the wishes of the public.