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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Karua opposes two-year transition government

Martha Karua has written to the Kofi Annan mediation team to express PNU's displeasure at the idea that Kenya enters into a grand coalition to midwife constitutional ECK and other far-reaching reforms, we can now report. And Prof Sam Ongeri was to be withdrawn from the Mediation team "to provide leadership to free secondary education" which apparently not true, we can also reveal. It was because he was adopting an uncomfortably pacifist posture with which the hardliners in PNU-ODM-K were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with. A cabinet minister in Kenya is not the CEO of the ministry, it is the PSs who run the day-to-day affairs. Ongeri's matters seemed to be headed to the wall.

One other complication is the fact that the disgraced former Chief Secretary, Simeon Nyachae, continues to pull invisible strings in the bandit government of wazee. There is no love lost between Mr Nyachae and Prof. Ongeri and Nyachae was not amused that having been soundly rejected in Nyaribari Chache, Ongeri has emerged as the undisputed king of the Abagusii. It is because of this that Nyachae has been tirelessly working to label Ongeri a weakling who cannot better represent the PNU position. This complicates matters for the Panuaists. Ongeri provided a grudging blending in order to offer PNU a semblance of tribal balance.

In he protest, Karua told Annan "As chair of the panel, you are expected to be impartial and to take every care not to misrepresent or compromise the position of either party. To this end, we feel that these inaccuracies have greatly undermined our position and embarrassed us as members of the dialogue team. We demand that the issue be revisited as the first item when we next meet." Martha Karua's hardline stance represents a shift in the PNU position because they were once again beaten to the line by ODM after the latter proposed a power-sharing deal.

It can now be revealed that Mutula Kilonzo, who represents the hardline survival interests of the bandit veep Kalonzo Musyoka who is opposed to the success of the mediation was reading from the same hardliners' script with Karua while Ongeri favored a resolution of the problem. The afable Ongeri, a medical doctor associated with well-cut suits and fluent English is reputed as one of Kenya's finest medical educators. Karua contends that even if the two year transition period were to lapse, Kibaki must be allowed to complete his second term to which he was 'duly sworn-in'. We have no quarrel with that, except that the bandit who was allegedly 'duly sworn-in' has never been handed the instruments of state. Neither was he 'duly elected' in the first place.

PNU's insistence on the respect for the constitution flies in the face of glaring irregularities and blatant disrespect for the same. In fact as somebody has rightly argued, those who swear to protect the constitution must begin by respecting the same constitution.

PNU is not comfortable with ceding their bandit powers. Kalonzo Musyoka seems to have bought that line of thinking which was broached by PNU, that the Peoples' President Raila Odinga and ODM must remain a strong opposition while reforms are instituted at the pace that pleases PNU. It irks PNU that while initially they resisted the coming to Kenya of international mediators, they went on to under-estimate the implications of Mr Annan's mediation. As former UN Chief and therefore the world's foremost diplomat, the superpowers cannot afford to see Dr Annan's efforts go down the drain. PNU is therefore faced with the prospect of a freeze on the badly-needed financial help in a year when free secondary education was introduced. The complicated under-performance of the economy was further complicated by the two months which have been lost in political fighting and ethnic conflicts.

Already, the December peak season experienced tremendous drops in earnings from tourism and key exports. The tourism sector alone has recorded a 90% drop in visitors compared to the same time last year. Cargo is piling up at the port in Mombasa while transport routes linking the country to the main landlocked countries of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo forced the traditional clients of Mombasa to relocate business to Tanzania. Resolution of the political impasse is therefore critical for political, economic and regional stability.

Meanwhile, in the US the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon will discuss Kenya in his meeting with President George W Bush. There is no room for failure for the Annan mediation and PNU will be rudely shocked if they introduce delaying tactics. Already Annan has pulled the negotiators out of public glare. Results are expected in the coming couple of days.