Diplomatic Support for Marende

On Kenya the State Department issued an official statement today calling for transparency and cooperation in implementing the new Kenyan constitution, keying off Speaker Marende’s ruling on the Kibaki appointments.  This follows a statement by the German Ambassador to Kenya on Friday that the President and Prime Minister should “sit and agree” on the key appointments. U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger called the Marende ruling “courageous”, “correct”, “objective” , and based on “principle” and said that he expects that it will be appreciated and supported by the Kenyan people.

Press Statement

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
February 20, 2011

Speaker of Parliament Kenneth Marende ruled on February 17 that President Kibaki’s nominations to key judicial and budget positions were not consistent with the provisions of the new constitution, highlighting the importance of moving forward on reform transparently and cooperatively. Progress can only be achieved if the President and Prime Minister work together in a collaborative way to implement the constitution, particularly to ensure that appointments are made in a transparent and credible manner.

Adoption of Kenya’s new constitution in August 2010 was a major milestone in implementing sweeping democratic reforms set out in the National Accord. The National Accord – which is written into the constitution’s transitional provisions – calls for the two principals to consult with a view to achieving compromise on key issues. We also encourage the coalition leaders to involve civil society in the constitutional implementation process in order to achieve national consensus.

Full implementation of the letter and spirit of the constitution is crucial to realize the promise of a democratically stable and prosperous future for all Kenyans.

The Nation, “Power politics behind Kibaki-Raila standoff”:

The latest standoff in the grand coalition government is part of an orchestrated campaign to stave off the ICC intervention in Kenya’s post-election crisis, the Sunday Nation can report.

Interviews with an array of players in the top political echelons and informed legal circles revealed that the threat of ICC trials facing powerful men and the cut-throat competition to succeed President Kibaki are at the heart of the conflict that has played out over the controversial list of nominees to key constitutional offices.

Part of the scheme is the bare-knuckled effort by the PNU top brass to ensure that Prime Minister Raila Odinga does not succeed President Kibaki next year. Senior PNU politicians believe the PM is keen to use the ICC trials to eliminate competition for the top seat next year.

There is also growing discomfort in sections of PNU that a Raila presidency will most certainly support speedy prosecutions by the International Criminal Court or revive some sensitive cases touching on powerful individuals.

Apparently, forces against the prosecutions have broken ranks and see the controversial nominations as an avenue to size up their opponents.

An international law expert familiar with the workings of the ICC said key players out there have been keenly following recent developments in Nairobi and Kenya risks being designated a hostile State.

“The kind of relationship that existed between the ICC and Kenya is no more because of the shuttle diplomacy to the AU and the letter to the UN Security Council,” said the lawyer who cannot be quoted discussing ICC matters.

Here is an Alex Ndegwa feature from today, “Marende: the voice of reason amid chaos”. I agree.

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