Seth Onyango and Anthony Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe
Jubilee Party leaders were last evening locked in yet another bitter war of words with their National Super Alliance (Nasa) counterparts over the proposal for a six-month transitional government. Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday kicked up a storm when he called for a transitional government.
In what appears to have opened a new political battlefront with the ruling party Jubilee, Raila argued that an interim government would allow for dialogue between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He told Reuters news agency that talks with Uhuru would be the panacea for the current political standoff. He argued that a transitional government would lower the risk of violence from Opposition supporters who feel excluded from power.
However, his proposal received an immediate backlash from Jubilee leaders, who described it as “a pipe dream that cannot be realised under the current Constitution”. Speaking to the People Daily by telephone, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale insisted that the power to elect leaders belonged to the people of Kenya who already did that on October 26.
“All power is vested in the people and it is these people who made the decision to re-elect President Uhuru on October 26. They had made a similar decision on August 8 which the court nullified,” said Duale. Duale told Raila to forget about ever ascending to the presidency through the backdoor and should instead wait for five years to try his stab at the top seat.
“The decision made on October 26 is final and we are not going to waste our time negotiating with anybody about nusu mkate government. They should forget that.” Elsewhere, five Jubilee MPs said the party would not be party to any discussion to share power with the Opposition. They termed Raila’s calls for an interim government to sit for six months as “wishful thinking” and headed nowhere.
Led by nominated MP David ole Sankok, the MPs told Raila the Constitution was clear only through an election could one ascend to power but not power sharing. Uhuru and Raila, the MPs said, could not sit and purport to be talking on behalf of Kenyans, and that the people spoke through the ballot and could not be subjected to “another round of shenanigans” of power sharing.
“Raila has now made clear his intentions. All along he has disputed election results under the pretext that the exercise was rigged. He has now opened his mind that he has been pushing for power sharing,” Sankok told the media at Parliament Buildings.
Githunguri MP Gerald Kago said Kenyans voted in a president last month, adding that Raila could not now make fresh demands after having boycotted the election. Lamu County Women’s Rep Ruweida Mohammed said Kenyans were tired of politicking after having been in the mode for almost one year. “Kenyans now want to move forward. They want the winner of the election sworn in for the government to start operating.
We cannot be in politics for decades.” Nominated MP Gideon Keter cautioned Kenyans against falling prey to Raila demands, claiming his actions were aimed at creating disharmony. Keter told Raila to accept that he lost the election. The Opposition leader had proposed a constitutional amendment to create hybrid presidential-parliamentary system where there is more inclusion of the populace.
“A pure presidential system enhances ethnicity because each community believes it is not safe unless their man is at the top,” he told Reuters. Raila said he was open for talks. “It depends on Jubilee; if they’re ready for serious discussion, we will be ready. If they want to protract it, it will be very protracted. What I want to assure them is that we will not surrender until our movement achieves what we want.”
Amending the Constitution to create a new political system would require a referendum. Jubilee has been categorical it will not participate in any talks to form a coalition government. Deputy President William Ruto has been adamant talks on nusu mkate were unwelcome.
In the run-up to the October 26 repeat presidential poll, Ruto claimed Raila had hatched a plan to kick out electoral commissioners to secure a coalition government.
“Our message to Nasa is that there shall be no nusu mkate government…,” he said during a meeting at State House, Nairobi, which brought together all Jubilee and affiliate parties elected leaders who also opposed suggestions for a coalition government.
A church encounter between Uhuru and Raila on Sunday rekindled hopes the two may finally agree to have talks. Uhuru indicated he was willing to have a meeting with his bitter rival.