President Kibaki on Sunday gave a robust defence to the nominations he made to the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecution and repulsed assertions by Prime Minister Raila Odinga that consultations were not made prior to the Friday announcement.
A statement dispatched by the Presidential Press Service from Addis Ababa termed as “unwarranted” Prime Minister Odinga’s stand that President Kibaki did not consult him in announcing nominees for the three top jobs.
The statement, signed by Internal Security Minister who is also the acting Foreign Minister Prof George Saitoti and his Defence counterpart Yusuf Haji, said Raila's protestations "are divisive" and will "generate unnecessary anxiety" in the country.
Both ministers have accompanied the President to the African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital.
"We have confirmed with H.E the President that indeed there were exhaustive consultations before these nominations were made as required by the Constitution. We, therefore, find the claim that the nominations were done without consultations and without adherence to the Constitution disturbing and unwarranted. It should be made crystal clear that consultations were undertaken."
"He (Kibaki) was also aware that the names of those nominated will have to be approved by parliament as required by the constitution. Parliament is the body that will decide, on behalf of the people of Kenya , whether the nominees should be appointed.
"We caution against divisive utterances by leaders that will generate unnecessary anxiety. Specifically, remarks to the effect that the President’s decision has “thrown the country into a major constitution crisis” are exaggerated and uncalled-for," the two ministers said.
The names of the nominees are set to be forwarded to Parliament in the coming days where they will be vetted by the Committee on Justice before they are laid before the House for a vote.
The balance of strength in parliament has tilted in favour of President Kibaki following the fallout in ODM. This is the support base the president is banking on to approve his nominees.
The statement from the Presidential Press Service was dispatched as President Kibaki attended the official opening of the 16th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
Issues relating to peace, democracy, governance and food security in the continent dominated the speeches during the opening of the two-day summit whose theme is “Towards Greater Unity and Integration through Shared Values” discussed issues relating to peace, democracy, governance and food security in the continent.
Addressing the summit at United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, outgoing Chairman of the African Union President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi said African countries should embrace the African Food Basket Programme which would enable the continent to produce enough food for its people.