ODM MPs threaten mass action over talks
Published on February 21, 2008, 12:00 am
By Ayub Savula
The ODM Parliamentary Group has demanded that Parliament be summoned in one week to amend the Constitution to implement the mediation talks’ proposals.
The more than 90 MPs warned on Wednesday that if that did not happen, ODM would call for peaceful mass action.
The party dismissed PNU’s call that mediation proposals must be constitutional as a ploy to delay decisions.
ODM Secretary-General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, who read the PG’s resolutions at a press conference at Parliament Buildings, said: “All Kenyans know that the Constitution is itself a problem to democratic changes in Kenya.”
He added: “We need to change it to be in tune with the popular demand for democratic governance in our nation.”
Mvita MP, Mr Najib Balala, warned that the party would back radical proposals if PNU did not want to co-operate in the mediation talks. He said that PNU leadership was not serious in the talks, claiming that it only understood the “language of mass action”.
Balala said: “The chief mediator, Mr Kofi Annan, is frustrated by PNU behaviour to scuttle the process. PNU members are frustrating the talks so that ODM can pull out. We want to tell them that we are there to stay.”
|ODM Pentagon member, Mr Najib Balala (left), and the party Secretary-General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o during a parliamentary group meeting, on Wednesday. Picture: Stafford Ondego|
He added: “We shall meet next Wednesday to prepare for mass action and Kenyans should be ready for this.”
Nyong’o said ODM was surprised that PNU was more zealous in protecting the presidency than fighting for ordinary Kenyans with the agenda for change on the table.
“We appeal to Kenyans to stay steadfast and support the Annan initiative against betrayal by the enemies of the people in PNU,” he said.
Nyong’o said every time the country had a political crisis, past Governments had changed the Constitution to deal with the problem.
“In 1964, the Constitution was changed to abolish regional assemblies and create a unitary system of Government. Soon after, the post of the Prime Minister was abolished the President became Head of State and Government,” added Nyong’o.
In 1966, Nyong’o said, the Constitution was changed to compel MPs who changed parties to seek afresh mandate from the people in the Little General Election.
In 1991, President Moi compelled Kanu to support the repeal of Section 2A of the Constitution to allow for multi-party politics.
He said the fundamental changes were made without Kenyans going to a referendum. Nyong’o wondered why President Kibaki had declared that a power-sharing deal had to be constitutional.
On Tuesday, President Kibaki accepted the proposal for inclusion of ODM in Government, but insisted that any deal must be constitutional.
“The pressure for a political settlement that will be inclusive, and provide justice and peace for our nation in a democratic system of Government cannot be frustrated by those hiding behind the Constitution,” he said.
He claimed that the ODM proposal was in line with what Kenyans had supported since 1992.
“They include separation between Head of State and Government, separation of powers among the three branches of Government and Parliament to control its own calendar,” he said.
Nyong’o said another property was on equity in the distribution of resources and devolution in structure and operation of Government.