ODM sets agenda for Kibaki-Raila meeting
By Standard Team
President Kibaki will meet Prime Minister Raila Odinga to resolve differences threatening to break the Coalition Government.
And on Friday, ODM identified three issues they would table before the meeting with the President on Monday.
Raila’s special advisor Salim Lone said corruption would top ODM agenda, especially on the concrete steps to be taken in the maize and free primary education scandals.
The second on the agenda is the implementation of the National Accord, especially provisions related to the authority of the Prime Minister to supervise and co-ordinate ministries.
Lone noted ODM also wants a timetable for the implementation of reforms under Agenda Four of the National Accord.
The two sides agreed to dialogue after Raila called Kibaki on Thursday, and asked for the meeting.
"The meeting will take place on Monday because the Prime Minister will be arriving on Sunday," said a senior Government official.
Raila had earlier announced the meeting would be on Sunday. A senior civil servant later clarified that the date and time had not been set.
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi also observed plans by Kibaki and Raila to meet and resolve the dispute over the controversial suspension of two ministers was welcome.
"We are happy the two principals have agreed to meet and sort out their differences, which will cool down political temperatures," he said.
He asked Kenyans not to panic over the crisis over protocol in the coalition that has pitted ODM against the Party of National Unity.
Ministers and Government officials on both sides of the political divide, according to the minister, still enjoy good working relations.
"We have differed even in Parliament, but we have always agreed and Kenyans should not lose sleep over our differences," he said.
Some ODM and PNU leaders, however, continued throwing accusations at each other despite assurances by the two principals.
The crisis was triggered off after the Prime Minister suspended Agriculture Minister William Ruto and his Education counterpart Sam Ongeri over the maize and free primary education scandals, last Sunday. The President overturned the decision three hours later.
On Friday, Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni blamed the wrangles on politicians who want to scuttle constitutional review.
"The wrangles have been carefully schemed by politicians who want the constitutional review delayed to suit their own political ambitions," said Kioni.
The accusations came even after Kibaki and Raila released statements assuring Kenyans they were committed to the delivery of a new constitution.
In a statement released from Tokyo, Raila said: "The central priority of this co-operation is giving Kenyans a new constitution."
Kibaki appealed to Kenyans to remain committed as they pursue the completion of a new constitution.
But Kioni, who is the MP for Maragua, said statements by some politicians were not genuine since they were not committed to fighting corruption. He dismissed the current wrangles as a ploy to deny Kenyans a new constitution.
"We have massive corruption but the leaders should do more to deal with the vice instead of giving it lip service," said Kioni.
In Kisumu, religious leaders and Luo Council Elders welcomed the move by the two principals to end the crisis.
The chairman of Nyanza Council of Churches Bishop Ogonyo Ngede and Chairman of Luo Council of Elders Mzee Riaga Ogalo said it was important for the two principals to come up with a joint stand on fighting corruption.
They said the stalemate was not good for the economy, healing and reconciliation.
"Let not politicians turn the anti-corruption crusade into personal agenda. We should safeguard peace and have respect for each other," said the Reverend Ngede.
Riaga asked the two principals to unite in the fight against corruption and impunity.
Ngede told the two principals that they were capable of dealing with corruption.
And in central Kenya, the Kikuyu Council of Elders expressed concern over the incessant wrangles in Government. They cautioned that the wrangles are a threat to peace and economic recovery.
The council’s chairman Wachira Kiago said the wrangles were likely to erode the gains of the last two years since the National Accord was signed.
"The realisation of all the reforms and the new constitution is being put at risk by the latest political stand off triggered by the maize and the free primary education scandals," said Kiago.
Kiago said the wrangles are a drawback to efforts made by the council and other groups to preach reconciliation.
The council has made major strides in creating peaceful co-existence among various communities and they fear current political crisis is likely to frustrate reforms.
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