Thursday, December 08, 2005

The one piece of advice Orezo should have heeded

By RAILA ODINGA
As President Kibaki goes about making the eagerly-awaited decisions about the Cabinet and other high-level appointments, he seems to be entirely unaware that the people overwhelmingly rejected a constitution which would have given him the right to make such appointments without consulting with the Narc affiliate parties.
The President has been holding meetings with his well-known group of businessmen, Banana leaders like Mr Njenga Karume who opposed Narc in 2002, church leaders who refused to advise their faithful on the referendum, foreign envoys and other individuals and groups. But he has refused to hold discussions with the true stakeholders, who are referendum winners, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), one part of which, the Liberal Democratic Party, helped propel him to the presidency in 2002.
The President's approach to these appointments violates the spirit of the current Constitution, which he seemingly was only too happy to revert to in his speech conceding at the referendum.
To negotiate directly with opportunistic individuals who use political parties solely for the purpose of personal gain is most imprudent. We, in the leadership of Orange Democratic Movement, have clearly indicated in numerous statements that we are ready to discuss with him the new Cabinet and other urgent post-referendum issues.
The most important among these is the need to chart the way forward on a new constitution. In our Naivasha resolutions adopted last Friday, we specifically asked the President to facilitate a meeting between the Banana and Orange groups as a matter of national priority in order to address the anxiety of the people of Kenya on the future of the Constitutional review process.
We have also stated repeatedly that we will not accept approaches of the kind that are being made to individual ODM leaders about joining the Cabinet.
Doing so would be a complete betrayal of all those millions who supported us in rejecting the proposed constitution and in seeking a new political dispensation. We stated during the campaign that the new constitution undermined political parties, which are the lifeblood of democracy, by allowing Cabinet appointments made through individual arrangements. The ODM leadership will, therefore, immediately expel any members who join the Cabinet through such private arrangements.
The repeated assertions by the President and his allies that they would triumph on November 21 showed how completely out of touch with people's views and passions they were. But what is more astonishing is that their isolation from the nation's mood continues after their devastating referendum defeat. They seem unaware that a transformed political environment now prevails in Kenya.
For the first time in our history, seven out of our eight provinces and 152 out of 210 constituencies voted for the same cause. And for the second time in three years, Kenyans have inflicted heavy political defeats on the Government of the day.
In continuing with business as usual, and by unconstitutionally banning our provincial thanksgiving rallies, the Government has once again thrust upon us the kind of situation that preceded the 2002 elections, with one major difference. Whereas the two principal presidential candidates in 2002 were both from Central Province, and received support from every corner of the country, the referendum results now reveal a deep divide between that province and the rest of the country.
This kind of isolation has been imposed by short-sighted Banana leaders on the people in the province, for the first time in history. The Orange Democratic Movement is determined to avoid such divisions.
That is why, from our very first victory statement, we reached out to our brothers and sisters in the Banana camp, and offered to work with the Government to chart the way forward. But the leaders who lost in the referendum continue to avoid seeing reality by down playing the significance of the people's verdict and claiming that it was merely a verdict on the constitution that alters nothing in the political landscape.
There is, however, ample evidence to indicate that the November 21 result also reflected people's lack of trust in the Government and dissatisfaction with both its commitment as well as ability to deliver on its promises on jobs and corruption, and on an inclusive and national approach to governance.
In any case, the Banana leadership itself proclaimed that a win for the Wako Draft would be a vote of confidence in the Government. Now they are studiously avoiding the issue of confidence. The celebrations that greeted the referendum results are not unlike the euphoria that swept the country when Narc won the elections three years ago. Kenyans were ranked in a Gallup International poll as the world's most optimistic people, and the Government was rapturously applauded at home and abroad for making Kenya the first country to sign the new international convention against corruption.
The change of the mood over the last three years is a result of severe disappointments in the Narc Government on two crucial issues: corruption and good governance, the latter including the non-delivery of the constitution the people wanted.
It is universally recognised that the popularity of Narc came out of its representation of the mosaic of the Kenyan people as a legitimate coalition government, crafted by the leaders through the Memorandum of Understanding.
But as soon as he took power, the President began to behave as if his Democratic Party alone had won the election, dispensed with any consultations with his coalition partners and dismantled Narc governing organs.
At the time, there was strong opposition within LDP to our accepting positions in the Government after Kibaki reneged on our pre-election coalition arrangements. I counselled compromise, believing that while the President was on a wheelchair after having suffered stroke, any serious divisions would create instability in the country. Unfortunately, our magnanimity was seen as a weakness. We will not make the same mistake again. But it is still not too late for the President to initiate consultations with us.
It is vital that he lead the way towards restoring national as well as international confidence in Kenyans' ability to pull together, as they so clearly showed in the 2002 election and in the current referendum by voting peacefully, with even the losers happily accepting the outcome.
The only way to move forward is a collegial and participatory approach among all the political parties in Parliament.
The writer is the Langata MP and former Roads minister Source: www.eastandard.net


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3 Comments:

Blogger Kenyan Idiot said...

For Obako, it is a triumph, for the majority Kenyans it is another fiasco. Indeed, Kibaki is sitting on a time bomb, yet to explode, and whose magnamity of destruction is unquantifiable. I mean his political death is imminent. And since death is not a countable noun but an inevitable occurence only he (Kibaki) will feel the pinch. It will be his death, not Kenya's nor Kenyans'.
His sidelining of the ODM is a blessing in disguise. I urge the ODM to guard against disintegration. United we stand, divided we fall. "Catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyards" (Song of Songs 2:15). Do not be swayed by petty differences and selfish ambitions. Instead, consider your mandate as a godly entreprise, a responsibility from God to guide his people. If only you all see it that way, then good shall triumph.
God bless Kenya.

12/08/2005 06:21:00 pm  
Blogger Kenyan Idiot said...

For Obako, it is a triumph, for the majority Kenyans it is another fiasco. Indeed, Kibaki is sitting on a time bomb, yet to explode, and whose magnamity of destruction is unquantifiable. I mean his political death is imminent. And since death is not a countable noun but an inevitable occurence only he (Kibaki) will feel the pinch. It will be his death, not Kenya's nor Kenyans'.
His sidelining of the ODM is a blessing in disguise. I urge the ODM to guard against disintegration. United we stand, divided we fall. "Catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyards" (Song of Songs 2:15). Do not be swayed by petty differences and selfish ambitions. Instead, consider your mandate as a godly entreprise, a responsibility from God to guide his people. If only you all see it that way, then good shall triumph.
God bless Kenya.

12/08/2005 06:21:00 pm  
Blogger mzalendo said...

WRONG MOVE, MR PRESIDENT

Mr. President,

I am happy you finally appointed your cabinet after 'lengthy consultations'. I applaud the time you took to undertake this task

As a Kenyan, i feel you negated the principles of democracy by not including the Orange Democratic Movement in your cabinet. You didnt even have any meeting with them(granted, in the euphoria of their win, they took a hard stance).

The reason i am telling you this , is because in all honesty, these leaders got the vote of 3.5 million Kenyans. They have the biggest stake in the process forward. Now you have galvanised them out of spite for individual entities in ODM

Like i said before, I DONT really care about politicians. Majority are in the RICH class and ARE opportunists who will harp at ethinicty whenever their selfish interests are threatened.

BUT, i care for peace and harmony of all Kenyans. I dont want POLITICS, to push everything to the backburner. I feel you have allowed for more drama, by mere fact that you didnt have dialogue with the victors in the referendum

I am talking to you, like an ordinary Kenyan, who is tired of the endless bickering, when we have 50% of the citizenry living off less than $1 a day. We have so much we can accomplish if all the politicians(You included) rose over petty selfishness and powerhungriness(I dont know whether the word is right, but it defines a greater number of our''leaders'')


I wish you would have just swallowed your pride and consulted with the true winners in the referendum.

Its not about Cabinet positions...............

It is the spirit of it.

and with that spirit, we avoid politics in our social sphere and direct our energies for the benefit of our children

http://www.mzalendowakenya.blogspot.com

12/08/2005 06:50:00 pm  

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