African Press International (API)

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Opposition will weaken ODM in the Grand Coalition, says Raila – Why is the government afraid to have a Grand Opposition in parliament?

Posted by African Press International on August 24, 2008

By Biketi Kikechi, Osinde Obare and Isaac Ongiri

The grand opposition debate dominated the memorial service of former Vice-President Michael Wamalwa Kijana.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the move to form a grand opposition is designed to weaken ODMs position in the Grand Coalition Government.

Deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament Justice Minister Martha Karua said the Opposition Bill will soon be tabled in Parliament.

They were speaking at Wamalwas Milimani residence in Kitale town at Wamalwas fifth memorial, yesterday.

The two ministers spoke after MPs crusading for the opposition led by Mr Cyrus Jirongo, Dr Bonny Khalwale and Mr Ababu Namwamba accused the Government of frustrating their quest to make it accountable.

Raila said ODM MPs pushing the agenda would leave the party with a weak base in the Coalition Government.

We slaughtered a goat which was shared out equally with PNU and that therefore means we will remain with an unequal share should some of us move to the opposition, Raila said.

Khalwale, Jirongo and Ababu had asked the Government to allow them establish mechanisms of checking its excess through the formation of an opposition.

But Raila said it was unnecessary because ODM and PNU have opposition back benchers who can play that role.

Karua said the Government was not scared of an opposition.

We will take the Bill to the House for fine tuning and necessary amendment before it is passed, she said.

Parliamentary independence

Wamalwas widow Yvonne Nambia was said to be away in Australia. She was represented by family members led by Wamalwas mother, Mama Esther Nekesa.

Meanwhile, President Kibaki and Raila have been urged to change their stand on the creation of the grand opposition.

Former Kabete MP Paul Muite said the formation of a strong opposition in the House would promote parliamentary independence.

Muite said he had read the contents of the National Assembly (Parliamentary Opposition) Bill 2008 and it will not undermine the President and the Prime Minister.

I beseech them to look at it again. This is a new idea that has come in the public interest, it will not interfere with parties or individuals in anyway, Muite told The Standard on Sunday.

He said the Government set up was almost like a one party model. He told Kenyans to support the creation of a constitutionally recognised opposition in Parliament.

If passed in Parliament, the Bill published by Namwamba will for the first time define the powers and roles of an official opposition.

On Saturday, Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo dismissed claims that the move is part of vengeance by MPs left out of Government. The Bill is set to be debated in Parliament in October.



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