Thursday, January 8, 2009




By Isaac Ongiri and Joseph Murimi

Fissures in the Grand coalition appeared to widen as ODM tabled fresh demands over the powers of the Prime minister, Vice-President and Head of Civil Service.
The Orange party is now demanding that its leader Raila Odinga assumes the role of Leader of Government Business in Parliament.

A meeting jointly chaired by deputy party leaders, Musalia Mudavadi and William Ruto at Orange House, also demanded the immediate retirement of public servants who have attained retirement age.


"We are going to table proposals for the amendments of the new Parliamentary
ODM Chairman Henry Kosgey (left) with Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o and Deputy leader William Ruto (right) address the press at the Orange House, on Wednesday.
Standing Orders, to have the office of the PM assuming the roles of the Leader of Government Business," ODM Secretary General Anyang’ Nyong’o told The Standard after the meeting.

In the meeting, Ruto spoke of frustrations the PM was facing in Government, which he said was making his role as co-ordinator and supervisor of Government a nightmare.
According to sources, Ruto said the role of the Vice-President, as Leader of Government Business in Parliament was a hindrance to the duties of the PM who is in charge of supervision and co-ordination of Government Business.

Nyong’o said the party would seek the amendments once Parliament is reconvened.


The party also resolved to demand for the disbandment of the office of the Head of Civil Service and its roles transferred to the Permanent Secretary in the office of the PM. "The ODM therefore demands that the office of the Head of Public Service which has no basis in law or Constitution be forthwith disbanded and the functions exercised by that office prior to the coming of the Coalition Government be transferred to the PS in the PM’s office," read one of the resolutions .

But the PNU coalition yesterday told off ODM, saying it was not possible for Muthaura to report to the PM.

Quoting the Constitution, Section 22 (1) ODM-K Secretary General and Cabinet minister Mutula Kilonzo said Muthaura could not report to Raila.
He said the section that creates the office of Muthaura and which empowers the President to make the appointment was never amended when the Grand Coalition Government was created. "It is not possible for Muthaura to report to the PM. The position is entrenched in the Constitution,’’ said Mutula.

Speaking after a Parliamentary Group meeting of the PNU and its affiliates yesterday, Mutula said he was embarrassed when Raila demeaned Muthaura in comments. He said the only recourse the ODM have is to marshal support in Parliament to amend the section.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, who chaired the PG, said the vilification of Muthaura was not acceptable to them. He said it was wrong for ODM to politicise the ECK issue and that to zero in on Muthaura was against the national accord.

According to a document they distributed to the media, the task force in-charge of the ECK transition is being steered by the Public Service ministry under the PM’s office.

Relocate office

ODM further demanded for the relocation of the office of the Government Spokesman to the PM’s office to facilitate the supervision and coordination of the execution of the decisions made by the Cabinet.

Mudavadi, who is also the deputy Prime Minister, said there should be an arbitrator within the coalition to address disagreements. According to sources, the DPM complained that ODM had been denied an opportunity to have its share of the public service, accusing PNU of secretly hiring diplomats.

Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode, MPs Omondi Anyanga and John Mbadi complained that lack of a dispute resolution mechanism was a big loophole in the national accord and reconciliation act.

Avoid fallouts

"Failure to put in place a dispute resolution code was a big blunder by the Serena Team. We must find a way immediately to avoid fallouts," Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode said.

Government ignored an agreement drafted by Mutula, the Nairobi Metropolitan Minister, as Kibaki and Raila named the cabinet. Nominated MP Musa Sirma told the meeting the ministers had failed to influence even small jobs for party members.

"We have resolved that Parliament be recalled to fast-track the Constitutional review process," Nyong’o said.

Yesterday, the party MPs warned against pulling out of the coalition, saying the country was still shaky.