NASA principals read from different scripts on PM post

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka flanked by the party deputy leader Shakila Abdala and vice chair Mutula Kilonzo Jr make their submissions to the BBI taskforce at KICC, Nairobi . [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

National Super Alliance (NASA) affiliate parties appear to be have sidelined ODM in their proposals for the creation of position of prime minister.

In submissions to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka fronted an executive president.

This is in contrast to the Orange party’s preference for an executive premier in a parliamentary system.

While presenting submissions to the Garissa Senator Yusuf Hajji-led task force, Mudavadi said a powerful premier would be a recipe for chaos as this would create two centres of power which may not augur well for the country.

The PM position has been at the heart of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s BBI proposals as he pushes for a possible referendum by mid this year.

In its submissions during the initial BBI sittings, ODM called for an executive premier with two deputies.

Watered-down

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When the Hajji team presented their report in December last year, the much touted executive premier had been watered-down, instead making a case for the creation a non-executive PM.

According to the first BBI report, the president would pick a PM from majority party in the National Assembly. The task force proposed that the president would remain as the head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the Defence Forces of Kenya.

After the launch of the report, Raila while addressing a meeting of top ODM officials and MPs, disclosed there would be fundamental changes to the document in the second phase.

“We will ensure we have a revised draft that will immediately go to a referendum. We will be debating on what to adopt, amend or discard in the BBI report,” he said.

ODM’s push for the PM is on grounds that the presidential system of government entrenches the winner-takes-it-all system that has been attributed to electoral violence.

Raila is also pushing for introduction of 14 regional governments and assemblies.

But Kalonzo, during submissions to BBI task force, said he wants the president to remain the head of state and government.

Wiper proposed that the PM be appointed by the president and only removed by two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and Senate.

Kalonzo wants the premier to be responsible for coordination and supervision of government.

“The prime minister shall nominate, for appointment by the president, the two deputy prime ministers,” said the Wiper leader.

He wants the premier to be the leader of government business in Parliament and to be the leader of the political party or coalition with majority seats in the House.

But Mudavadi proposed that the prime minister should be picked from the president’s party. “This will prevent wrangles between the two offices,” he said. He explained that this was informed by his experience in the Grand Coalition Government formed by former President Kibaki and Raila after the chaotic 2007 elections.

Mudavadi said it became difficult to run the government, as Kibaki and Raila represented opposing camps that were not ready to take instructions from each other.

“It reached a point where when the PM called for a Cabinet sub-committee meeting, if you were from Kibaki’s PNU faction, you feigned commitment. We had a situation where there was always lack of quorum,” he said.

Poked holes

The ANC leader wants the president to be the head of government and commander in chief of the Defence Forces of Kenya. 

Speaker after speaker opposed the recommendation for the president to have powers to hire and fire the PM. Instead, they called for a PM who runs all the affairs of government.

The argued that BBI’s proposed model risks putting the country into the hands of a powerful president with nobody to check or veto his excesses.

At the same time. the Joint Parliamentary Group and National Executive Council meeting poked holes in the BBI document launched with much fanfare last month at a Lavington hotel and called for an executive premier who would be the head of government. 

The speakers complained that the BBI report did not capture their aspirations.

President Uhuru Kenyatta gave the 14-member BBI task force another six months to work on validation of the report.

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National Super AllianceBuilding Bridges InitiativeMusalia MudavadiKalonzo MusyokaODM