Monday, February 15, 2010



Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses a news conference on February 14, 2010, where he suspended Cabinet ministers William Ruto and Prof Sam Ongeri. Photo/WILLIAM OERI

February 15 2010

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said he did not have to consult the President over the suspension of two government ministers.

In an interview with the BBC Radio on Sunday night, the Prime Minister said he had acted within the law, since he was only “disciplining errant ministers.”

"I don’t have to consult him (President Kibaki)… I have not dismissed a minister, and that is where I need to consult the President, but just disciplining a minister who is errant, that I have the powers,” he told the radio.

He said the President had acted illegally by quashing the suspensions.

“The President actually cannot revoke my suspension…of ministers… because I’m the supervisor and coordinator of government functions. That is the constitution. That function I do not share with anybody.”


On Sunday, the PM announced at a Press conference the suspension of Cabinet ministers William Ruto and Prof Sam Ongeri for three months to pave way for investigations into two separate scandals.

One scandal involves the loss of an estimated Sh2 billion in the irregular allocation of subsidized maize in 2008. Maize under the national grain reserve, meant for the hungry, was sold to profiteers who made millions, while consumers had to pay high prices for the product.

The second scandal concerns fraudulent deals in the Ministry of Education which cost the government Sh103 million meant for the Free Primary Education scheme, where top ministry officials drew inflated imprests for seminars.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister quoted a section of the National Accord which he said gave him power to suspend the ministers over the graft allegations. The National Accord was signed in 2008 as a power-sharing deal that ended the post-election violence sparked by the disputed 2007 General Elections.

But President Kibaki later said the PM did not have powers to remove ministers from office and therefore, “constitutionally the two ministers remain in office.”

The President added he had not been consulted over the matter, and he too, quoted the National Accord and the Constitution, that ministers can only be removed by the President after consultations.

However, the Prime Minister maintained that the suspension stands and the ministers will be investigated. “Since the permanent secretaries have been suspended, the ministers must follow suit,” Mr Odinga said.

But, on Monday, the two ministers on the contested suspension reported to their respective offices. Mr Ruto said he was there to serve his role as provided by Constitution. Prof Ongeri refused to talk to the Press as he reported to the Jogoo House offices in Nairobi in the morning.


Submitted by harriison
Posted February 15, 2010 06:01 PM

Hon. PM, I support you fully on war against corruption. But you did a big mistake, by telling lies to kenyans that you consulted with President. All you were up to was to settle your scores with Hon. Ruto. See now? Enemity, anger and hatred will never take you anywhere. You and Ruto are equal when it comes to maize scandal and you have no right to to exercise hatred on him just to blindfold kenyans that you are Mr. Clean. 2012 is far. you need to learn to lead by example!!!

Submitted by gm1971
Posted February 15, 2010 05:54 PM

This is an end of an era. Agwambos political career is in it's last days. He was a force to reckon with though.

Submitted by marto_1967
Posted February 15, 2010 05:53 PM

The Ministry's chief accounting officer is the PS, and its right that they get disciplined for misuse of public funds since they are the AIE holders. If Ministers were to stand down for every mistakes made by every civil servant in the ministry, the institution would be ungovernable....simple logic.

Submitted by shene
Posted February 15, 2010 05:42 PM

Give or Take. Our PM is showing very positive leadership straits. I salute you PM on a job well done.

Submitted by mwambani
Posted February 15, 2010 05:36 PM

The law is very clear on who has what authority. The issue here is credibility and intergrity. Obviously when the PM suspended the two Ministers he either misrepresented the presidents' position or lied about consulting with him. That is even a more serious concern than attempting to suspend the two ministers.

Submitted by woz
Posted February 15, 2010 05:28 PM

Interesting question: should the Prime Minister 'suspend' the chair of the cabinet, i.e. the President, so that proper investigations may be conducted into the conduct of the President in the execution of his Office?

Submitted by jdagoo24
Posted February 15, 2010 04:56 PM

a white lie asks of you to resign like the statements indicate...

Submitted by MJOAN20
Posted February 15, 2010 04:29 PM

"Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced the suspension at a Press conference on Sunday, saying necessary consultations had been made within government on the matter." Indeed it looks like the government was consulted in absence of Kibaki.

Submitted by Thabari
Posted February 15, 2010 04:21 PM

These two gentlemen ought to act like grown-ups. Both mean well for their country, but it's easy to get distracted by the politics of the moment. They fully understand the ridiculousness of their current arrangement but that's no excuse for raising the political temperature. There is too much at stake: top most finishing work on a new constitution. May cool heads prevail.

Submitted by betran
Posted February 15, 2010 04:20 PM

Mr. PM another reason for you to resign. You created a commission to investigate a commission that found out that your office is the headquarter of the maize scandal, then you decide to sack Rutto so you can cook the evidence against you. And now you lied if before the you children who look up to you for mentor ship. What else do you want.Step aside.

Submitted by kiumbani
Posted February 15, 2010 04:14 PM

take it easy raila. we dont have to go all the way back to how it was after the elections because of this crisis. lets look for amicable solution to this problem. point is: all corrupt ministers, PSs,...should quit immeadiately or b fired.

Submitted by Make1
Posted February 15, 2010 04:13 PM

Where is the Attorney General to interpret the law and tell the public what the constitutional interpretation of this piece of legisaltion is? If Raila told the public that he had consulted the president, and then as it turns out, he did not, was his announcement in haste so as to divert attention from himself?

Submitted by Karumbeta
Posted February 15, 2010 03:55 PM

Initially it was reported that you consulted the president. Now you claim you don't have to consult the president. Which is the true position? Does it mean that you lied to the public on sunday?

Submitted by piedmont
Posted February 15, 2010 03:16 PM

of course these statements had to be made in the comfort of his pay masters.

Submitted by angle2090
Posted February 15, 2010 03:14 PM

The PM should know these are matters of state. A country is not a firm, where you can do whatever you want in the name of discipline. A country has laws, institutions and structures. It will be unpatriotic to throw the country again into chaos by raising tribal animosities at this time. Follow the law!

Submitted by Stemukindia
Posted February 15, 2010 03:03 PM

This is getting too legalistic. Where is the A.G? He should have given his opinion by now. Also, in the future, drafters (read lawyers) of constitutional documents should avoid ambiguity and communicate effectively.

Submitted by majogoo
Posted February 15, 2010 02:38 PM

But wait a minute, Mr PM, when you said that you had consulted before you suspended the ministers, who were you refering to? Honestly, you cant talk to Orengo and quote one line of the accord and tell us you have powers. It just tell us that all your stories are questionable.

Submitted by comprah
Posted February 15, 2010 02:25 PM

Raila, stop being a lair. You said that you acted after consultations! You should be investigated too for your lies.

Submitted by niamoja
Posted February 15, 2010 02:23 PM

I think Raila is loosing it. Is this a joke or something? I am glad this is happening before 2012. I know where my vote will not go.