Raila tables ODM view on dialogue to Kikwete
Published on February 28, 2008, 12:00 am
By Ben Agina and Ayub Savula
Tanzanian President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete, met ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, to jumpstart the stalled mediation talks.
During the two-hour meeting at the Grand Regency Hotel, Raila gave the party’s position.
Raila, who was accompanied by ODM Pentagon members, Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Najib Balala and Mr Joseph Nyagah, maintained that there must be real power sharing through a grand coalition Government.
|Tanzanian President, Mr Jakaya Kikwete (centre), with Chief mediator, Dr Kofi Annan, and former Tanzanian President, Mr Benjamin Mkapa, address the Press at the Grand Regency Hotel, on Wednesday. Picture: Collins Kweyu|
ODM made their position known ahead of the big-five meeting scheduled for today between Presidents Kibaki and Kikwete, former President Benjamin Mkapa, Chief Mediator, Dr Kofi Annan, and Raila.
On Wednesday, Raila told Kikwete the positions in the Cabinet and government should be shared equally.
Each coalition partner shall nominate the persons for appointment to allocated positions in Cabinet and Government.
The party also maintained that removal from the appointment will not be done, except with explicit approval of the appointing coalition partner.
In the event of the collapse of the grand coalition or termination of the mediation agreement by either party, there shall be fresh presidential elections, ODM preferred. On the position of the Prime Minister and two deputies, Raila told Kikwete that their appointments be through appropriate constitutional provision.
The Prime Minister, ODM says, shall be accountable to the Cabinet and Parliament.
Another key position that may ruffle the Government is that the Prime Minister shall be the leader of Government Business in Parliament, currently held by the Vice-President.
Raila also told the Tanzanian President that the Prime Minister might be removed from office only through a vote of no confidence by Parliament.
The Prime Minister, according to the ODM position, shall supervise and co-ordinate ministries and Government affairs in addition to being responsible for the reform agenda.
ODM has also insisted that key provisions of the mediation agreement be entrenched in the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the ODM Parliamentary Group has suspended today’s mass action.
Secretary-General, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, told a news conference after the PG that they had been prevailed upon by Annan to call off the mass action.
Nyong’o said ODM had also agreed that Annan should consult with the principals in the talks before they resume.
He said instead of the mass action, MPs would go to their respective constituencies to pray for peace.
Nyong’o said the PG resolved that they fully support an initiative to resume the Annan talks for a political settlement.
“We are asking Kenyans to support the Annan-led talks because Kibaki and his PNU friends who are behind the mediation are making it difficult to come up with a solution,” added Nyong’o.
He said time for change had come and it would not be business as usual in the operation of the Government.
The party had summoned the PG meeting this morning to prepare for the mass action today. Nyong’o had said the MPs would be involved in the co-ordination of the mass action and converge at Uhuru Park at 10am for the event. On Monday night, the ODM called for mass action following the stalling of the mediation talks.
Nyong’o had sent a letter dated February 25 to Police Commissioner, Maj-Gen Hussein Ali, informing him that the party would hold nationwide peace meetings on February 28. In the letter, Nyong’o had said ODM regional co-ordinators had delivered letters to respective OCPDs across the country.
He said the letters were to notify the OCSs of the rallies and request for security.
On Wednesday, Nyong’o advised the MPs to preach peace for the success of the Annan talks.
He said ODM wanted justice to be done for peace to prevail following the discredited last year’s General Election.