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Saturday, April 05, 2008

Who Is President Kibaki’s Boss?

Grand Coalition Government Will NOT Be Announced On Sunday After All

Will The Real Duly Elected President Of Kenya Please Stand Up

It is unacceptable that as we enter the second quarter of 2008, I am writing this post.

The latest news is that even the bloated 40 member-cabinet will not be named tomorrow after all. Signs that all was not well emerged on Friday when the government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua released a list of the proposed cabinet and the way they were going to be shared out between ODM and PNU.

It immediately became clear that President Kibaki had changed his mind after his breakthrough meeting with Raila Odinga, just the previous day. In fact my mind immediately went back to the widely circulated version of what had transpired at the Kibaki/Raila meeting. It is said that President Kibaki had reduced his earlier demand of cabinet poirtfolios from 44 to 40 expecting Raila to still protest but to his surprise, the ODM leader quickly conceded (for the sake of moving the process forward) and that caught the president unwares. He mumbled something about consultation and Raila is said to have asked him if he had other bosses above him. The two men then quickly concluded all details concerning the grand coalition cabinet including how they were going to share out ministries. In my view this list still greatly favoured PNU. (see ODM version of the agreed upon portfolio balance).

However it appears that when Kibaki consulted his bosses at PNU, they quickly rubbished the agreement he had had made with Raila necessitating the statement by Dr Alfred Mutua, this time presenting a brand new list approved by Kibaki’s bosses.

This latest antics from the handful of people who have held the country at ransom since last December provoked great anger in the ODM camp and Raila’s spokesman Salim Lone speaking on behalf of the ODM leader quite rightly pointed out that ODM had conceded a lot to get the country to where it was currently and there was NO way he was going to concede any more.

A government statement a short while ago now says that Raila Odinga and President Kibaki are due to have a meeting tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 10:00. Which makes the President’s remarks at a passing out parade at GSU headquarters on Friday take on a whole new meaning. The president said that the cabinet would be announced on Sunday afternoon. He emphasized Sunday afternoon. Could it be that after the meeting in the morning, the new cabinet will be announced tomorrow afternoon?

I posed this question to some knowledgeable insiders and they insist that it is doubtful. The point to the fact that the bridge to be crossed between the cabinet list prepared by Kibaki’s bosses and ODM’s position is very wide indeed. Besides whatever Raila and Kibaki discuss tomorrow morning will still have to be ratified by President Kibaki’s bosses later in the day.

Which leads us to the million shilling question; who is President Kibaki’s boss(es)?

There was a time when it was widely believed to be one Lucy “slap everybody in site” Muthoni Kibaki. But then the first lady has not made any public appearances since the disputed general elections of last December. Could it be that the new bosses have been in office since the election crisis? And if this is the case, who are they? Who are these people who did not present themselves for elections and did not even steal votes to qualify themselves as the final authorities over Kenya?

But even as Kenyans debate long and hard on that question, the civil society campaign against the bloated proposed cabinet has picked up with a vengeance. They have threatened to make sure that the swearing in ceremony scheduled for Uhuru park next weekend does not happen. Their argument and that of the vast majority of Kenyans is clear. Why should starving Kenyans support the big fat bloated cabinet? They are demanding a cabinet of not more than 24 portfolios.

If you want to know how serious Kenyans are, you should note the fact that nobody is laughing at some of the ministries. My eyes tell me that there is a ministry of cabinet affairs!! Can you believe that!! And then the ministry of Nairobi affairs has persisted!! We now demand one for Mombasa and another for Kisumu and why not add every major town in Kenya (while we are at it), after all the smaller towns need a ministry much more than Nairobi where all the big fat ministers sit and action is always quickly taken pretty quickly when there is a problem affecting them (and not the wananchi). For example, shortly after some of them spend 4 hours in a traffic jam, all matatus are quickly banned from the CBD.

P.S. It seems that Raila Odinga’s handlers are keen to portray their leader as an emotionless statesman (which is just not like Raila). Speaking at the funeral of William Ruto’s dad in Eldoret earlier today. Raila spoke about a new constitution for Kenya which will be the number one priority for the coming grand coalition government. Emotional issues like the numerous concessions he has made to PNU and how he will now NOT make any more concessions were left to his foot soldiers like Salim Lone.

P.S. 2 No PNU minister turned up at the burial of William Ruto’s dad. However Nichloas Kipyator Biwott was there. Surprise, surprise.

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