Monday, February 11, 2008

Kenyan Crisis: Deal?

There may be no quick agreement between ODM’s Odinga and PNU’s Kibaki because, while the former has shown a willingness to move away from his earlier stance such as "Kibaki must resign," Kibaki has become a prisioner of the constituent parties that have propped-up his government for which power is the end and the means. This view is reinforced by what Kalonzo said when he landed from abroad (any deal must be constitutional), and Mr. Poghosio’s announcement that any deal brokered by HE Annan will not affect ODM-K's power-sharing agreement with the minority PNU government.
The emerging deal is so far in favor of Kibaki– he is the President. ODM should not sacrifice further than it has done. Recognizing Kibaki’s Presidency has been a bitter enough pill for ODM to have swallowed.
ODM must go for Executive Prime Minister.
With this in mind, nothing less than an Executive Prime-Minister for ODM (based on BOMAS and executed quickly by Parliamentary legislation) is agreeable. This would ensure that ODM, as the majority party, will be Head of the Government; it would also preserves ODM’s Identity as a party for 2012, and multi-party democracy will have won. Mr. Kibaki can remain a ceremonial President in charge of the defense.
While the much routed a prolonged Interim Government (six-month one called by ODM has been shot down by negotiators at City Hall) would allow the country to heal and allow the internally displaced persons (IDPs) to resettle, it would prove to be a slow-killing pill that would in the long run, neuter ODM in particular, and multiparty democracy in general, as the boundary between Opposition and Government become blurred in the eyes of the people. Ideally, an interim Gov't must be reasonably short.
As the Annan negotiations move towards its critical stage, ODM must think long-term because its image of a Movement ended with the 12/27/2007 elections. That is why it should prefer a constitutionally mandated (through parliamentary legislation) and quick Executive Prime Minister Deal to any other form of power-sharing arrangement. Otherwise, it is better to remain in the opposition than be in a long-term, coalition arrangement –a multiparty democracy killer.
ODM should not bank on any elections being called before 2012.
As long as the internal refugees are still in the camps in Kibera, Kondele and the Rift Valley, and their plight played to every tourist visiting Kenya, Kibaki will not call any election whatever the Annan Deal. I am very pessimistic; I am looking at 2012 for the next face-off.
JR Alila

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