Monday, April 14, 2008

Kenya News Bulletin: Kibaki, Raila Unveil Grand Coalition; Seven Women In Cabinet; Odinga's Rise to PM

Kibaki and Raila unveil coalition team

Publication Date: 4/14/2008

President Kibaki Sunday named a 42-member Cabinet equally shared between PNU and ODM and demoted two ministers in the process.

The much awaited announcement of the expanded government gave the country its second Prime Minister in Mr Raila Odinga, paving way for a new four-and- half-year political dispensation.

He created four new ministries in what he described as a decision to give attention areas critical in the economic development and address regions that have been marginalised by previous governments. The President also moved some ministers in the delicately balanced Cabinet to satisfy regional balance.

Seven women secured places in the new team.

Public Service

Millions of Kenyans who were glued to their televisions sets and radios witnessed President Kibaki unveil the much talked about Cabinet at State House at 4.33pm. New Prime Minister Raila Odinga stood on his right hand side with Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to the left.

The new Cabinet line-up did not include the names of permanent secretaries, indication that the issue of public service appointments has not been resolved.

President Kibaki used the occasion to give his ministers a menu of the tasks ahead of them — reconcile the country, generate wealth and transform the economy.

“Following extensive consultations within the coalition, and taking into consideration the current challenges facing the country as well as the need to ensure regional balance in the leadership of this country, I am announcing the Cabinet of the grand coalition government,” he said during the ceremony that was delayed for 30 minutes.

It took an exclusive retreat at Sagana State Lodge between President Kibaki and the new PM for the deal to be struck.

PNU retained the ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Internal Security, Defence, Energy, and Transport among others. ODM bagged Local Government, Roads, Public Works, National Planning and Vision 2030, Immigration, Agriculture and Public Service among others. PNU has a stake of 17 ministries, ODM 20 while and ODM-Kenya harvested three seats in the largest Cabinet since independence.

The President also named 52 assistant ministers. As expected, Mr Musyoka retained his docket while Mr Odinga was named Premier without a ministry.

However, the Planning ministry to be headed by Butere MP Wycliffe Oparanya and that of Public Service whose holder is Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, were placed under the Prime Minister’s office.

Two deputy Prime ministers Uhuru Kenyatta (PNU) and Musalia Mudavadi (ODM) were named with high profile ministries. Mr Kenyatta, in addition to his new position, will serve as Trade minister while Mr Mudavadi takes over Local Government.

Hopes that Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua could be named deputy PM were dashed by the announcement.

President Kibaki demoted Mr Wilfred Machage of the East Africa Community ministry together with his Public Service colleague Asman Kamama.

Mr Machage and Mr Kamama were named Roads and Higher Education assistant ministries respectively.

Four new ministries of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands, Industrialisation, Planning and Vision 2030, and Nairobi Metropolitan Development were created. Wajir East MP Ibrahim Mohamed will hold the Northern Kenya development portfolio, Henry Kosgey (Industrialisation) and Mutula Kilonzo (Nairobi Metropolitan).

Rift Valley emerged with the highest number of ministries at 10, followed by Nyanza, Eastern and Central provinces which got six each, Western (five), Coast and Nairobi (three) and North Eastern Province (two).

President Kibaki kept ministers George Saitoti (Internal Security), Amos Kimunya (Finance), Karua (Justice and Constitutional Affairs), Kiraitu Murungi (Energy), Chirau Mwakwere (Transport), Yusuf Haji (Defence), Moses Wetang’ula (Foreign Affairs), Naomi Shaban (Special Programmes), Sam Ongeri (Education) and Mr Samuel Poghisio’s Information and Communication.

Roads docket

He shifted Mr John Michuki from Roads to Environment; Mr Kenyatta from Local Government to Trade; Dr Noah Wekesa from Science and Technology to Forest and Wildlife and Mr John Munyes from the Ministry of Water to that of Labour.

He brought on board as new ministers Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo (Public Health and Sanitation) and Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi (Gender and Children’s Affairs).

Mr Odinga ensured that the entire Pentagon team of William Ruto (Agriculture), Najib Balala (Tourism), Joseph Nyaga (Cooperative Development) and Charity Ngilu (Water and Irrigation) were named to the Cabinet. Former head of Public Service Sally Kosgei was also appointed minister in charge of Higher Education and Science and Technology.

Lawyer MP James Orengo took the Lands portfolio while newcomer Hellen Sambili will be in charge of the Ministry of Youths and Sports. Funyula MP Paul Otuoma was named to Fisheries Development, while the Roads docket went to Bomet MP Kipkalya Kones. Westlands MP Fred Gumo is the new Regional Development Authorities minister.

Seven women land top posts

Publication Date: 4/14/2008

Seven women were Sunday appointed to the grand coalition Cabinet, making it the highest number ever in the country’s history.

The appointments, made by President Kibaki, were close to the Government’s promise that 30 per cent of all public appointments and elective positions will be reserved for women.

The Party of National Unity nominated four of its female members to the Cabinet while ODM and its affiliates gave the rest.

Been tipped

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua retained her docket but now has more responsibilities - National Cohesion.

Ms Karua, the Gichugu MP, had widely been tipped to become the Deputy Prime Minister.

Taveta MP Dr Naomi Shabani also retained her Special Programmes docket. She was appointed early this year, when President Kibaki named his half Government.

And Nyeri Town MP Esther Murugi Mathenge was appointed, for the first time, minister for Gender and Children Affairs.

Also to make it to the new Cabinet was Dagoretti MP Beth Mugo, who has for a long time held assistant ministerial portfolios including that of Education in the Narc government.

Kitui Central MP Mrs Charity Ngilu also made it back to the Cabinet following her appointment to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

She replaced Mr John Munyes, who was moved to the Ministry of Labour. Mrs Ngilu, during the run-up to last year’s General Elections, was sacked by the President from the post of minister for Health after she switched her allegiance to ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga.

Another surprise inclusion to the Cabinet was United Democratic Party’s Dr Hellen Jepkemoi Sambili, who was appointed the minister for Youth and Sports. She is the MP for Mogotio. UDP is affiliated to the Orange Democratic Movement party.

Also appointed by President Kibaki was Aldai MP and former head of the Public Service Dr Sally Kosgei. She becomes the new minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

Dr Kosgei is a member of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team charged with seeking a solution to the current political impasse facing the country.

Several women were also appointed to the assistant minister’s position.

They include Mrs Lorna Laboso, the Sotik MP, who is the assistant minister in the Office of the Vice President in charge of Home Affairs.

Mrs Elizabeth Ongoro, the Kasarani MP, was appointed to the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development as assistant minister. Runyenjes MP Ms Cecily Mbarire was appointed assistant minister in the Ministry of Tourism. She has also served in the Ministry of Transport in the same capacity.

Former Immigration minister and Marakwet East MP Mrs Linah Jebii Kilimo was appointed Cooperatives assistant minister, while Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, the Starehe MP, was appointed assistant minister in the Ministry of Housing.

Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti is the new assistant minister for Youth and Sports.

Raila’s long and bumpy drive to the top

Publication Date: 4/14/2008

Tenacity and fate have propelled Mr Raila Amolo Odinga to occupying the Prime Minister’s office and exercise authority only enjoyed previously by founding President Jomo Kenyatta.

It has been a long, rough and torturous road for Mr Odinga, whose father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, also aspired to be president.

After Jaramogi’s death, Mr Odinga shouldered the family’s political mantle.

Mr Odinga’s eventful political career has seen him get detained three times, found political parties and use them to build alliances and then opt out when the coalitions failed.

Tinga, Agwambo and Captain — are among the nicknames associated with Mr Odinga in his long journey to power.

Whenever Jaramogi wanted to pass an important message to him, he would simply call him by his middle name — Amolo.

Hardened him

His closeness with his father hardened him and made him something of a phobia, especially during former President Moi’s regime.

Mr Odinga seems the most successful of the group of politicians who were referred to as ‘Young Turks’ in the early 90s fighting for what has come to be known as ‘The Second Liberation’.

They included Safina leader Paul Muite, Ugenya MP James Orengo, Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara and former Trade minister Mukhisa Kituyi.

A schemer and a political mobiliser par excellence, Mr Odinga is loved and loathed in equal measure.

After winning many of his political battles, Mr Odinga has cut a larger than life personality.

He has stepped on many toes with his abrasive style and the knack to shoot from the hip. Many of those who have crossed swords with him have had to eat humble pie.

One fact unknown to many is the misconception that his Luo community follows him blindly.
Indeed, it is the other way round.

He always consults with women caucuses, university professors, the youth and the elders to know the feeling of the people at any given moment before making a decision that will affect the community.

Still, Mr Odinga — having run an impressive presidential campaign in 2007 — could be said to have graduated from an ethnic kingpin to a statesman with immense influence among world leaders.

For his towering figure on the Kenyan political scene, a former Vice-President, Mr Michael Wamalwa, summed it up thus: “We have in this country Raila phobia and Raila mania.”

And every time his adversaries think they have fought the good fight to the end, Mr Odinga seems to get the last laugh.

Former President Moi fought him through the gallows and political chess board while President Kibaki took a laid back approach as his closest political henchmen fought Mr Odinga.

Rising from the scaring epithet that he is a rebel, a guerilla, communist, an ethnic chauvinist, detainee, sell-out and a dangerous man, Mr Odinga earns the legal jargon “guilty until proved innocent”.

House arrest

Mr Odinga was placed under house arrest for seven months after being suspected of collaborating with the plotters of a failed coup against President Moi’s administration in 1982.

He was charged with treason and detained without trial for six years.

Released on February 6, 1988, he was re-arrested in September, of the same year for his involvement with the Kenya Revolutionary Movement (KRM), an underground organisation pressing for multi-party democracy in Kenya.

He was released on June 12, 1989, only to be incarcerated again on July 5, the following year, together with Kenneth Matiba and former Nairobi Mayor Charles Rubia. Mr Odinga was released on June 21, 1991, and in October, he fled the country to Norway, alleging Government attempts to assassinate him.

At the time, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford), a movement formed to agitate for the return of multi-party democracy in Kenya, was formed. In February 1992, he returned to join Ford, then led by his father.

He won the Lang’ata seat, previously held by Philip Leakey of Kanu. When his father died in January 1994, and Michael Wamalwa Kijana succeeded him as Ford-Kenya chairman, Mr Odinga challenged him for the party’s leadership.

He lost, and left Ford-Kenya to join the National Development Party (NDP).

In the 1997 General Election, Raila finished third after President Moi and Democratic Party’s Mwai Kibaki, but retained his position as the Lang’ata MP. After the election, Mr Odinga supported the Moi government, and led a merger between his party, NDP, and Moi’s Kanu.

In 2002, however, Moi passed over Mr Odinga and openly supported Uhuru Kenyatta — the son of Kenya’s first President. Moi publicly asked Mr Odinga and others to support Uhuru.

Mr Odinga and other Kanu members, including Kalonzo Musyoka, George Saitoti and Joseph Kamotho, opposed this step and formed the Rainbow Movement in protest.

The Rainbow Movement went on to join the little known Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which later teamed up with the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK), a coalition of several other parties, to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc).

LDP signed a memorandum of understanding with NAK, which provided for a Prime Minister’s position for the LDP, as well as a 50-50 share in Cabinet seats.

However, President Kibaki did not appoint Mr Odinga the Prime Minister on assuming office, and neither did he give LDP half the Cabinet positions.

Open rebellion

The perceived ‘betrayal’ led to an open rebellion and a split within the Cabinet, which culminated in disagreements over a proposed new Constitution for the country.

This led to the formation of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) — an Orange having been the symbol for the “no” vote in the referendum.

In January 2006, Raila Odinga announced in the New Year that he would vie for the presidency through ODM.

Following the election, held on December 27, the Electoral Commission, in controversial circumstances, declared Mr Kibaki the winner on December 30, 2007. Mr Odinga accused Mr Kibaki of fraud, and widespread violence broke out in the country.

After two months of unrest, a deal brokered by Mr Annan between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga resulted in power-sharing and the creation of the position of Prime Minister.

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