Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Power-sharing? What has the ODM been drinking?

Mutahi Ngunyi may have hit the hammer on the head, and Uhuru 'UK' Kenyatta only confirmed it: there are no hard-liners around the president. The only hardliner in that camp is the president himself. If he wanted a deal done, Martha and the other so-called hardliners would have no say in the matter. it seems that the Old Man and the ODM flag-bearer have a personal chemistry that can only be politely descibed as less that friendly.

In this whole debate, the fate of Kenyan refugees has yet to be addressed in detail. I am sure that Dr. Shabaan is doing her best to sort out matters to deal with humanitarian relief, but the political class has done nothing to begin the process of reconciliation. It also seems that Mr. Odinga's writ does not run large in Kibera anymore. Yesterday's riots are either a sign that he is no longer being heard or that he has asked his constiotuents to return to the streets for more 'mass action'.

It has always been naive to imagine that President Kibaki would share executive power with anyone. Where in Africa, indeed the world, have you seen a head of government share executive power? Even in the 'developed' democracies, there is only one person who wields executive power. Prof. Kivutha Kibwana is right when he points out that the constitution of Kenya and the National Accord do not envisage a splitting of the executive power between the President and the Prime Minister. However, he is wrong in denying the perceived importance and relative power of the different ministries. After all, do you really see one of these men agreeing to become the minister for gender, youth and cultural affairs when he could be named the minster for finance? Didn't think so. This has nothing to do with the letter of the law but with the political perception created and the practicalities of the situation. it is a bare fact that some ministries control the lion's share of the national resources while others receive bread-crumbs.

It is also a fact that the last truly executive president was Mr. Moi. He wielded power with authority and thre was none to challenge him. Even his political rehabilitation in the run up to the General Elections is a testament to the fact the he still commanded authority and respect from his tormentors and friend alike. Mr. Kibaki would be naive to imagine that the political class and the Kenyan people would allow him to rule rather than govern. Sadly for him, he is neither feared nor respected by the Opposition.

Some wags are suggesting that the best possible solution to the problem of power sharing would be to create 222 new ministries and make every MP a Minister. This, it is argued, would drive home the point that the ministerial flag is not important in the grand scheme of things. Thus, what Kenya needs today is not 40 or even 20 ministries, but a political class that has the interests of the Kenyan at heart. Unfortunately, that is not a class that exists today. For instance, Mr. Johnstone Muthama has already been preveiled upon by his colleagues to shelve his calls for a reduction in the salaries and allowances of MPs. Who wants to wager that the honourable member for Kangundo never mentions the matter ever again?

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