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Archive for January 17th, 2008

New Speaker’s challenge over competing political interests

Posted by African Press International on January 17, 2008

Story by OWINO OPONDO

New Speaker Kenneth Marende has his work cut out even as he settles in the Chair.

Newly-elected Speaker Kenneth Marende looks on as President Kibaki takes his oath of office as MP for Othaya. Mr Marende made history by becoming the first candidate sponsored by the opposition to win the Speakers post. Photo/STEPHEN MUDIARI

By trouncing Mr Francis ole Kaparo in the hotly contested poll for the seat on Tuesday, he has made history as the first Opposition MP to be elected to the post in post-independence Kenya.

It was clear at the week before the election that the Government side comprising the Party of National Unity and ODM Kenya were not comfortable with Mr Marende, an ODM member, winning the position of Speaker.

The tally of results for the post of the Chair confirmed that the Government side lacks a clear majority of MPs in Parliament. So does the Opposition.

Yet it is through the same august House that both sides seek to bring legislation to implement the promises they made to the public last year prior to the General Election.

Mr Marende, as the shepherd of the National Assembly, finds himself bang in the centre of competing political interests.

For example, President Kibaki is likely to solidify the coalition plan he has already began with ODM Kenya. This, he is likely to do by appointing more Opposition MPs firstly, and especially those from the small parties as ministers and assistant ministers.

Mr Marende has started off well by proving his independence through the first ruling he made on Tuesday, shortly after being overwhelmingly voted into the Chair by the ODM.

He poured cold water on arguments from the Opposition benches, led by Ugenya MP James Orengo, over the wording and the form of the Oath of Allegiance.

At that time, anxiety was evident on the Government side before the Speaker made the ruling.

But Mr Marende kept true to the demands of his office fairness, firmness, dignity, honesty and fortitude.

These are qualities that will constantly be tested by both sides of the House.

For example, a number of Opposition political parties whose members President Kibaki would have appointed to his Government between now and March when Parliament is set to begin work are likely to ask the Speaker to make a ruling.

They will be piling pressure on Mr Marende to declare vacant seats of those MPs who would have defected to the Government side.

It will not be the first time an Opposition party will be making such a move. Kanu chairman Uhuru Kenyatta, during the last Parliament, demanded the Speakers ruling when President Kibaki co-opted some of his party members to the Government.

It was a weighty matter because Kanu had already taken the issue to court.

The Kanu request put Speaker Kaparo between a rock and a hard place. He had two options: Respect the independence of the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature as arms of Government, or make a ruling that would have been challenged in law. He chose to keep mum, and the Ninth Parliament lapsed with the matter.

However, the dynamics of the law and positioning of political parties have changed in the new Parliament.

One, the previous House amended the law demanding that an Opposition MP gets the permission of his or her party boss before crossing the floor.

This requirement was an inclusion proposed by former Siakago MP Justin Muturi to the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act (Cap 7).

It was tucked in the many existing laws changed under the omnibus called the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act. The provision took effect this month.

Sub-section 5 of Section 17 of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act now says: No person who is elected or nominated as a member of the National Assembly with the support of or as a supporter of a political party (other than the party whose candidate has been elected President at an election) shall be appointed a minister of the Government of Kenya under Section 16 of the Constitution without the concurrence of the party which supported him for election or nominated him for appointment as a member of the National Assembly.

Unity of purpose

The determination and unity of purpose exhibited by the Opposition on Tuesday is a matter that should keep the new Speaker and his deputy, Lagdera MP Maalim Farah, alert.

It is a practice that is likely to be extended in frustrating Government Bills on the floor of the House.

This would largely affect those businesses requiring the support of a simple majority to sail through.

They include the Budget, Bills and Sessional Papers, but leave out any constitutional amendments that usually require the nod of two thirds or 148 of the total 222 elected and nominated MPs.

Mr Marende is on record for expressing his respect for parliamentary traditions and practices.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.nosource.nation.ke

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Kenya crisis – Why there is no need for Kofi Annan

Posted by African Press International on January 17, 2008

1. Parliament is the supreme authority in Kenya. Whoever controls Parliament rules the nation. ODM (and by extension Hon. Raila)has significant control of the House.This potentially makes Railathe MOST POWERFUL man in Kenya. Perhaps even more powerful than President. Also he does not report to President Kibaki. Kenyans have given him exactly what he wanted – it just wasnt packaged the way he expected it!What is lacking?A shinytitle, an entourage and personal perks.2. Kenyans want real Justice. Not “Blood Justice”. ODM has the numbers to fight it out in parliament. Theyarein a position topass PROGRESSIVE laws, build INSTITUTIONS and push for DEVOLUTION (not transfer) OF POWER. Kenyans have seen the need for a new constitution and they have given ODM the mandate to get it delivered ASAP!3. Majority of ODM MPs have a conscience and want Peace to prevail. A number of them have been to Rwanda and they have seen proof of the devastating effects of ethnic Violence.4. Denying that there was ethnic violence is like dipping your head in the sand. Kenyans are not idiots. In most of the affected areas, whethera person lived or died was determined by the name onhis/her ID. Some of these people never even voted. The dead children certainly did not vote. There are no winners in war.5. Raila has Grassroots outreach. He can speak to the hearts ofthe poor people in slums who were killingtheir neighborsIN HIS NAME. He cancancel mass action – in the knowledge that there are criminals who may sabotage them to cause murder and mayhem. Mere press statements and rhetoric will not work. The same fervor used during campaigns should be used for preaching PEACE.6. ODM can peacefully and legally ensure that this kind ofcrisis never happens again. All Kenyans who love peace are counting on this. Please don’t let us down. This is a chance for Raila to go down in history as the man who transformed Kenya into a modern democracy!7. Time is running out. Raila should lodge the case in court before it is too late. You lose options if your case gets time barred. He can get 1 million signatures to support his petition and gain international support. There are many intelligent ways to solve a crisis. Options can be created where none seem available.8.The international community will quickly abandonanyone who “looks bad”- no matter how “right” the person is.Taking to the streets after attending a swearing in ceremony hosted by the very President whose legitimacy is being questioned portrays ODM as ruthless, calculating politicianswho will sacrifice their fundamental beliefs for the sake of their STOMACH. Kenyans have eyes.There goes credibility down the drain.9. ODM MPs, including Railaattendeda swearing in ceremony on thePresident’s invitation. By doing so, they signaledto Kenyans that its time to move on! Timeto take it OFF the streets and into PARLIAMENT. Time to use minds rather than stones and machetes. Either that – or they pot aside their conscience and ethics to ascertain their fat MP paychecks and expensive cars – while the poor slum dwellers demonstrate in the streets!10. The goodwill is still there – but if ODM fails to deliver the change they had promised, the whole country will hold them responsible. 11. Think long term. Think Somalia. Think Sri Lanka. Think Israel/Palestinian conflict… How high is their price for justice?Don’t destroy your owncountry. It’s not worth it. What is 5 years? Choose peace! Choose Reconciliation. Let us fix it in parliament.It will take less time and will ensure there is still a countryto be “ruled” by the next President of Kenya.LET PEACE PREVAIL.By Kenyans for Peace.

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Marende says he will “all members speaker – not ODM’s:New Speaker pledges review of House rules

Posted by African Press International on January 17, 2008

Story by ODHIAMBO ORLALE


New Speaker Kenneth Marende has promised to introduce major reforms in Parliament which will include review of the rules and provision for live coverage.

Emuhaya MP-elect Kenneth Marende (right) is sworn is as Speaker of the 10th Parliament by National Assembly Clerk Samuel Ndindiri after he defeated Mr Francis Kaparo by 105 votes to 101 during third round of balloting. Photo/PETERSON GITHAIGA

Mr Marende also announced he would give Constitutional reforms priority during his five-year tenure.

Said the new Speaker in his acceptance speech: The Tenth Parliament will have progressive reforms which will see the standing orders reviewed and modernised.

Electronic voting

Mr Marende, who is the Emuhaya MP-elect on an ODM ticket, disclosed he would also ensure electronic voting was introduced in the august House.

The former member of the parliamentary committee on justice and legal affairs in the Ninth Parliament that was chaired by former Kabete MP Paul Muite said he will also ensure Kenyans get a new Constitution as soon as possible.

Turning to the 207 MPs who voted both for him and his major opponent Francis ole Kaparo, Mr Marende challenged them to ensure they hold the House in dignity at all times.

Mr Kaparo was the former Speaker and was backed by President Kibaki and his Party of National unity MPs and their colleagues in affiliate parties.

Marende got 105 votes while Mr Kaparo garnered 101.

Mr Marende told the MPs to make the rules and respect them so that the public would do likewise.

Most competitive

The new Speaker described the polls as most competitive.
On his vision, Mr Marende said I will be dynamic, competent and an honest Speaker. I will also make sure that Parliament remains alert to the needs of the people. And I will ask you not to look at my lips but at my heart.

The youthful Speaker told the attentive House that he would work with dignity and diligence to promote the image of the august House at all times.

As your Speaker, I will defend all members rights because you are the true spokesmen of the people, he said.

Quoting from former British Prime minister Winston Churchill, the Speaker told the members that they should register their aspirations and learn from the past.

Mr Marende said he was proud of winning honourably, saying that is how democracy should be carried out.

The Speaker expressed confidence in democracy saying it can work in Africa, contrary to some views by its critics.

Lifted and published by Korir, API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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I still maintain that the clashes were not organized by anybody

Posted by African Press International on January 17, 2008

New comment on your post #240 “Kenya: Does Raila Odinga “hate the Kikuyu community?””
Author : Kiprono (IP: 80.247.158.42 , 80-247-158-42.reverse.newskies.net)

Commentary to: living in Kenya(writer):

You are right, I come from Rift Valley and that is why I have a better understanding of the events there than anybody who does not reside in the area. I still maintain that the clashes were not organized by anybody. They were a logical reaction of a people who felt aggrieved by the incumbent (how they reacted may not have been right). You need to understand that when you close all the avenues of seeking recourse, people tend to be violent.

History has so many examples on this including Mau Mau and the Nandi Rebellion. Kibaki started by refusing to honour the MOU in 2003, he refused tho honour the IPPG agreement of 1997 on appointment of ECK commissioners and appointed his friends to the commission who assisted by rigging him into office, the Judiciary is full of Mt. Kenya appointees from the Minsiter to the judges and magistrates, intelligence and security institutions are headed by people from Mt. Kenya. How do you expect to get justice in such a setup? we are back to the dark days of single party politics.

Such an arrangement is a prerequisite of a violent confrontation. Moi did it in 1980s and that is why Kenya was on its knees in 1990s. We taught we had seen the last of it after Kibaki was elected to office in 2002 but unfortunately we were wrong. Kibaki was one of Moi’s best students when he served under him as a VP for 10 years. The violence will not end very soon until some semblance of justice is seen to have been done; it can only subside to errupt another time.

There is no way one can try to defend the indefensible. Even if you told a 1000 lies, the truth will always stand. How can everybody else be so wrong and Kibakis friends and sympthatizers be right on this? Even Kivuitu the chairman of ECK, does not know if Kibaki won the election although he declared him the winner. I do not know whether ODM stole votes but of course it is possible that they did steal. My concern has not even been that Kibaki stole votes but the way he stole it. I am not saying it is good to steal but if you must steal, do not use Kibaki’s formular. You don’t steal in broad daylight when everybody is seeing and expect no reaction from the other party. What did you expect from Raila’s supporters when the ECK commissioner complaints he cannot reach his returning officers from a specific region and that they have switched off their phones? that he does not know whether they are cooking figures? what did you expect when Kivuitu could not use Form 16 and 16A as supporting documents for results from a specific region? What did you expect when Kivuitu declares different results from what his officers declare at the constituency level? What did you expect when Kivuitu disowns his own returning officer from Molo and later admits that he was under pressure from PNU and ODM-K to declare the results? of course they were not going to send him congratulatory messages and flowers. They were going to respond violently the way they did. Thie blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Kibaki and Kivuitu; not Raila and Ruto.

The statistics you have posted from the ODM consituencies are nothing but a fabrication. Check the ECK’s official results publsihed last week and you will realize how you have fallen victim to PNU propaganda. In fact Kivuitu denied authorizing the publication of those results. Somebody somewhere used his name to try to legitimize the results.

For peace to come to this country, there is need for justice to be done. Someone has to pay for mistakes that have led to anarchy in our country never witnessed before. I am sure none of those culprits will be Raila or Ruto. For those who think Raila cannot compare to Mandela I leave them with this message: Mandela became what he is today by employing both armed resistancy and diplomacy to the white man’s rule. Raila has done the same. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. Raila has been detained several times in his life time. Mandela forgave those who incarcerated him, Raila has done the same. There is very little difference between these two men.

Let us look at Kibaki. He is a good economist and that is where his credentials start and end. He was VP during KANU dark days when Raila was in detention fighting for more democratic space in this country. He moved the motion that turned Kenya into a single party state. Remember the Mugumo tree and razor blade? he discouraged agitators of democrazy, Matiba, Rubia, Raila, Orengo, Muite, Jaramogi that KANU was like a Mugumo tree and they were trying to cut it wit a razor blade. He is used to good living and comforts of live. He waited until section 2A of the constitution was repealed to make Kenya a multi-party democracy then defected to opposition to form DP in 1992; in fact he spoilt for Matiba who could have won the 1992 election by splitting the Kikuyu votes. His actions gave moi a lifeline when he was to go home in 1992. Between the two men, who has done more damage to this country? you have the answer.

Published by API/APN africanpress@getmail.no

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