'Narc summit' finally delivers on pledge
By Oscar Obonyo
It might have taken more than 100 days, contrary to promise for President Kibaki’s ‘Dream Team’ to deliver a new political dispensation. But on Wednesday it finally did — emphatically and in style.
Key figures in the ‘Greens’, including Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, and ministers, Charity Ngilu and George Saitoti are the very ones who belonged to Narc’s elite club — the Summit —that spearheaded Kibaki’s successful presidential bid in 2002.
Even more interesting is the fact that Kibaki’s campaign team registered victory of almost a similar margin when Narc romped home with 62.2 per cent against 31.3 per cent. This time around the performance is six per cent better. That the Kibaki Dream Team is politically potent is not in doubt. However, owing to internal political competition, the entire cast split and only regrouped in Government after the disputed 2007 General Election and to push for the ‘Yes’ campaign.
According to the PM, the win requires that political leaders of the ‘Greens’ work even more closely as the 10th Parliament must enact close to 73 laws to implement the new provisions and structures.
Lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo predicts a tighter Kibaki-Raila-Kalonzo co-operation pact alongside MPs allied to their parties ahead of the 2012 General Election.
"Kibaki’s quest for a legacy does not stop at the referendum. He has to lay ground for smooth execution of the new constitution, including enactment of supportive laws. This is where Raila and Kalonzo come in," observes Kamotho.
Pundits say the referendum poll may change political alliances in the run-up to the 2012 General Election.
This will particularly be evident in Parliament where fate has placed those who supported passage of the constitution in one camp.
Now the MPs allied to Kibaki, Raila and Kalonzo have to caucus and consult more frequently to ensure passage of the 73 new and transitional legislations.
The President has lately described his relationship with PM and VP as a good, having teamed up and worked closely with them under Narc.
According to Raila, unity among the top leadership as witnessed at Uhuru Park last week will last.
The PM divulges a unity pact has been building over the period and that they want it to continue.
And speaking at the ‘Greens’ final rally at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park last Sunday, Kalonzo recalled how seven years ago, Raila sensationally declared ‘Kibaki Tosha!’ at the same grounds.
Except for Deputy Prime Ministers, Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi, and Lands Minister, James Orengo, most of the key ‘Greens’ rallied behind Kibaki’s presidential bid in the 2002 General Election. Orengo and Uhuru were his challengers while Mudavadi was the latter’s running mate.
Other members of the Narc Summit, former Vice-President Moody Awori and former Agriculture Minister, Kipruto arap Kirwa, who have since left active politics, did not play a lead role in the campaigns. The other, former Vice-President Michael Kijana Wamalwa died eight months after the Narc victory.
As in 2002, this is the force behind Kibaki that has helped deliver a new constitution. Interestingly, in both instances, Kibaki and Raila have exchanged stewardship of the campaign after the other became indisposed.
In 2002, Raila took charge of the campaigns following a road accident that confined Kibaki to a wheelchair. In the latest instance, the President took charge after the PM was hospitalised following a minor surgery to ease pressure mounting on his brain.
Now the President and PM have promised to put aside their party differences and place the country on the path of stability and progress.
Luckily for the pair, opponents in the ‘No’ have not only conceded defeat but have also promised to play a role in national reconciliation.
"As a team we have agreed to help this country move forward. As a first measure, we plan to meet the ‘Yes’ team to discuss contentious issues," Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo, a ‘Red’, told The Standard On Sunday.
He also confided that MPs allied to the ‘Reds’ would consult and agree, where possible, on legislation of the additional clauses.
In the run-up to the 2002 General Election, Raila bragged theirs was a winning side that had brought together contestants who finished second, third, fourth and fifth (in reference to Kibaki, Raila, Wamalwa, and Ngilu) in the 1997 presidential elections.
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