Saturday, February 20, 2010



February 18 2010

It took a phone call between Nairobi and Tokyo for coalition principals President Mwai Kibaki (left) and Prime Minister Odinga to set up a meeting and also ask their loyalists to halt the warlike rhetoric.

High level intervention from key foreign powers has persuaded President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to call a ceasefire on their war of words as they prepare to meet and discuss the rift in the Grand Coalition Government.

The phone conversation came as it emerged that former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, who mediated the Kenya post-election conflict, had no intention of immediately responding to Mr Odinga’s invitation to help resolve the rift in the coalition, although he also called and spoke to the two principals.

It is understood that Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga had come under pressure from a number of foreign powers calling themselves “Friends of Kenya”, among them the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, to end the crisis. Each of them was called separately before they agreed to talk on the phone.

Sources said during the 10-minute conversation which started at 8pm, the two agreed to ask their allies to tone down hard-line public statements. President Kibaki’s allies said they agreed to the meeting but did not set a date and time.

Mr Odinga’s camp said the conversation was “extremely cordial and very useful” and said that the meeting was scheduled for Sunday. “President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga will meet on Sunday to chart the way forward out of the impasse that has created a notion of crisis in recent days,” said Mr Salim Lone, the Prime Minister’s communications adviser.

Mr Lone said they agreed to hold talks and explained that there were no serious issues that could block their cohabitation in the coalition. “This cooperation has been most striking in the still ongoing negotiations on ... a new constitution, a process which has been deeply divisive for more than a decade,” he quoted the PM.

However, President Kibaki was more bold and declared there was no crisis in the coalition in spite of the salvos that were being fired from key leaders of PNU and ODM.

In a statement, the Presidential Press Service said: “President Mwai Kibaki has assured Kenyans that there is no crisis in the Grand Coalition Government. There has been heated debate about the cohesion of the Grand Coalition Government, President Kibaki said the Government is stable.”

The stand-off between PNU and ODM escalated into a political fire-ball last Sunday when Mr Odinga suspended Agriculture minister William Ruto and his Education counterpart, Prof Sam Ongeri over allegations of corruption. President Kibaki reversed the suspensions on the same day, saying the PM had no powers to suspend them.

On the previous day, the President had announced the suspension of permanent secretaries Karega Mutahi (Education), Romano Kiome (Agriculture), and Ali Mohamed (Special Programmes) and National Cereals and Produce Board boss Gideon Misoi, together with the PS in Mr Odinga’s office, Dr Mohamed Isahakia, and the principal administrative secretary, Mr Caroli Omondi. The President’s action came hours after the officials in Mr Odinga’s office had stepped aside.

Mediation request

As the matter escalated, Mr Odinga on Monday said he had written to the African Union and Mr Annan, asking for mediation. This was followed by ODM’s declaration that it would boycott Cabinet meetings until the dispute was resolved. On Thursday, Mr Annan, in response to questions e-mailed by the Nation to his Geneva office, said he was concerned that the stand-off could derail the implementation of wide reforms stipulated in the National Accord.

The Panel of Eminent African Personalities, which oversees the Kenyan settlement under Mr Annan’s leadership, said it was “calling upon President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga to meet urgently to agree on a practical and workable application of the principle of collaboration, the continued need for investigation of the alleged acts of corruption, and on the imperative of joint sustained efforts to implement the reform agenda”.

Mr Annan listed the challenges facing the coalition as investigations into corruption scandals and the race to implement the reform agenda. Mr Annan is expected in Kenya at the end of next month to assess the performance of the coalition after two years in power. In Washington, President Obama’s administration released a statement showing concern at the impasse and urged the President and the PM to urgently meet to end the crisis.

US assistant secretary and bureau of public affairs Philip J. Crowley, in a brief on Wednesday, said: “We urge the leaders of the coalition to work swiftly to resolve these differences, which must not derail efforts to implement critical reforms and move Kenya forward. Now is not the time for political posturing or precipitous actions by either side.” They said the coalition was divided on how to handle the sprouting cases of corruption, the delivery of a new constitution and dismissal of public servants who abuse their office.


Submitted by vgogero
Posted February 19, 2010 06:22 PM

To enhance their cohesion The PM should be appointed leader og Government business in the house and chair of the house business committee .As for the two Ministers Parliament should decide their fate .

Submitted by Massai
Posted February 19, 2010 05:28 PM

why are you all saying that you want Ruto and ongeri out? why not Raila he in this also so stop thinking with your trabalistic views , theyt should all go or when elections comes everybody eats mbuzi and vote for a theif and cry for years , even us the public are part of the problem !

Submitted by Mbirime
Posted February 19, 2010 05:21 PM

Yes...finally home to roost! Corruption, corruption, corruption IS THE ISSUE. Let's keep it there. I am glad the side-shows are fizzling out. Now Mr. Appointing Authority, can you lay aside the corrupt ministers?

Submitted by francois08
Posted February 19, 2010 03:13 PM

Must ther be a mediating team for these two big heads to agree on house keeping? The law must be followed or else we ask anan to lead us. Aaah very sad. but Ruto and Ongeri should quit.

Submitted by mzeemoja
Posted February 19, 2010 01:52 PM

When one side in marriage ran far away from home to shout about their differences and seeking solution from strangers it is irretrievably broken.

Submitted by Isaya Baraza
Posted February 19, 2010 01:41 PM

Kibaki and Raila must learn how to handle their differences instead of always asking for mediation from foreign leaders. How can the two be leaders in Kenya if they cannot agree on a small issue like firing of alleged corrupt officials? I sometimes wonder who exactly is leading Kenya as in Kibaki or foreigners.

Submitted by wanja2003
Posted February 19, 2010 01:37 PM

Do we as Kenyans deserve this leaders, seriously speaking, do we?

Submitted by sniper33
Posted February 19, 2010 01:29 PM

Please have your meeting, but we want nothing short of Ruto and Ongeri to step aside, it is a pity that Ruto was put in the cabinet by Raila and against PNU who wanted a cabinet without him and now he is chest thumping that Raila cant remove him, We want action.

Submitted by bashe1
Posted February 19, 2010 01:29 PM

It is about time those two leaders start leading the nation instead of petty bickering over politics despite our people's patience in adversity. Kenyans deserve better leaders who will lead not a tribe, but a nation.

Submitted by critico
Posted February 19, 2010 12:27 PM

And to my friend Kathungu - now that wrong procedure was overturned by the appointing authority - we are now urgently waiting for the rule of law to be followed to make Ruto and Ongeri step aside ? That is what Kenyans want ! We are not interested in who has what powers. We want corruption addressed by Kibaki, period.

Submitted by Kathungu
Posted February 19, 2010 08:42 AM

And the same "friends of kenya" should be bold him to tell off those leaders who overstep their mandate. The consitution of kenya is supreme and the rule of law cannot be substituted with party wrangles and personal ego.

Submitted by sikujamu
Posted February 19, 2010 08:12 AM

Friends of Kenya indeed. Only when it suits them. Where were these countries, orgs when Kenya needed assistance in repatriating a suspected extremist???

Submitted by musyokaj
Posted February 19, 2010 07:43 AM

Your Excellency Mwai Kibaki and Hon. Raila, whether you meet or not, Kenyans want Hon. Ruto and Hon. Ongeri out. If you have chosen to be puppet leaders that is your problem. Remember we have effectively two years to go to next elections.

Submitted by yesuwangu
Posted February 19, 2010 07:00 AM

nmjoe wants to dictate to the press what they should report as much as the press has been bold and faced all kinds of actions mnjoe dont look down upon the press.if your facts are true produce it to the press and they will report if you want salt added open your own press

Submitted by saila
Posted February 19, 2010 06:34 AM

its good that they are talking. as Kenyans we need better leadership. th reference of 'principals' makes them look like semi-gods. may they be humble servants

Submitted by olegaita66
Posted February 19, 2010 06:32 AM

It is just very disturbing that our country's problems will always be mediated by foreigners as though we can't solve our own problems.The mature way to solve this problem once and for all is to carefully fast-track the proposed constitution and hold elections under the new constitution.And finally we will have one government without this unworkable coalition thing.

Submitted by karangia
Posted February 19, 2010 06:01 AM

It is a pitty. The press has to create an impression that there is a war and then pretend that a Mzungu must have called for there to be dialogue. Interestingly, Raila thinks that without these foreigners, he can not lead. Something that people need to bare in mind next time they go to the polls

Submitted by vicman
Posted February 19, 2010 04:35 AM

Prezzo and PM need to know that the politics of "Kumalizana" are not only Malizaling the other side but the whole country.Those sound bites may score points and get them elected but guys is that the only thing that matters to you?????

Submitted by ensoko
Posted February 19, 2010 03:52 AM

There is a crisis in kenya and no amount of denial will shove it away.Corruption is rife and nothing is happening.Raila should also acknowledge all parts of the coalition are guilty of this vice.The fight should be radical rather than selective.Inviting Annan and writing to leaders outside Kenya all the time is an insult to our souveregnity.It is time we sorted out our own mess our own way.Suspending people to only re-emerge in a few months is bull.

Submitted by JonBforever
Posted February 19, 2010 03:37 AM

Raila does not enjoy the same popularity he had in 2007. He has already burnt all his bridges. Let him go protest by himself.

Submitted by marto_1967
Posted February 19, 2010 02:25 AM

Finally, they have realized that Kenyans are serious about voting out every one of the current MPs in 2012! Hey, not even the truce can change anything anymore. Voters will surely redeem Kenya this time round. UC2012 Kenya?

Submitted by maugo1234
Posted February 19, 2010 12:48 AM

Nmjoe -be schooled. The intervention is obvious from this piece. Annan spoke to both Raila and Kibaki before the two agreed to a conversation. Keep dreaming about leaving in peace without the interantional community and Annan because were it not for them there would be no kenya leaving in peace. This is not a PNU or tribal thing - corruption-is- destroying-us-here-in central. Money was voted for IDPS but now being diverted to 2012 campaign. Raila spoke for us all. You in diaspora andhave no idea of how Kibakihas ruined and stigmatized us. Be nationalistic.

Submitted by MJOAN20
Posted February 19, 2010 12:20 AM

@mmjoe you are the crisis yourself .Our journalists may not be perfect but are well trained and could report accordingly like it appears to be in this article.

Submitted by nmjoe
Posted February 18, 2010 11:34 PM

why does the kenyan press fear reporting facts. Kofi Annan has rejected Raila's request because he doesnt feel there is a crisis.That said He wants to see kenyans living in peace.Raila on the other hand has to back down and accept to consult without playing to the gallery .