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Mungatana quits government

BUSINESS
By | April 7th 2009

By David Ochami

Medical Services Assistant minister Danson Mungatana has resigned from the Cabinet.

Announcing his resignation on Tuesday afternoon, Mungatana accused Kibaki administration of impeding reforms and fostering corruption.

He becomes the second high-ranking government official to quit the grand coalition government in less than 24 hours.

On Monday afternoon, Gichugu MP Martha Karua quit the position of Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister.

Both resignations occurred while President Kibaki was out of the country attending head of states conference.

The simmering intra-party differences within PNU add to the already glaring feuds between it and its grand coalition partner, ODM, which is led by Prime Minister Raila Odinga. ODM is accusing its partner PNU of short-changing it.

But the Garsen MP said his decision to step down was informed by President Kibaki’s handling of the Grand Coalition Government and reform agenda.

He also added that Karua’s resignation on Monday made his stay at the cabinet untenable. Karua is the party chairperson while Mungatana serves as the secretary general.

Mungatana†who, together with Karua, strenuously, defended Kibaki’s controversial re-election in December 2007 told the President "the time of the big man’s syndrome is gone".

Referring to the Head of State’s recent unilateral appointments to public offices, Mungatana said his party, which has majority of MPs in Kibaki’s PNU, has been sidelined.

Changes

At exactly 1.30pm Mungatana said: "I would like to thank President Kibaki†for having appointed me

to serve as Assistant minister for Medical Services. However, the development of Monday where the chair of Narc-Kenya resigned her position as Justice minister, (makes) it difficult for me as Secretary to serve in the same government she has left?"

The Narc-Kenya top decision-making organ, NEC defended Karua’s resignation saying she left because she could no longer hold together with a corrupt and anti-reform clique.

Speaking after tendering his resignation on Tuesday, Mungatana urged other Narc-Kenya MPs to consider their continued stay in government.

Saying they are free to make personal decisions, the party secretary general added that Narc-Kenya officials in government and other "reformists in and outside Parliament need to be part and parcel of what the people of Kenya want".

The latest development means that Nark Kenya has practically moved out of Kibaki-led PNU. Last year when PNU was urging its coalition parties to dissolve and join it, Narc Kenya defied the orders and went ahead to hold elections, which saw Karua elected chairperson while Mungatana became secretary general.

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