Yet again, we have a major list of political appointments from President Kibaki announced, apparently unilaterally, with Prime Minister Odinga objecting that he was not consulted. In this case “county administrators” for the 47 counties — new units of government under the new Constitution. The President’s office identifies the job description of these new officials as, among other things, coordinating security, presumably including the upcoming elections when the first county governors are to be elected:
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has rejected President Kibaki’s appointment of 47 county commissioners, saying he was not consulted.
He also wondered what their job would be since the Constitution says it’s governors who will be running counties.
The Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) said the appointments should be done afresh because the President did not follow the spirit of the law in making them.
Five Orange Democratic Movement Cabinet ministers have also opposed the selection, many arguing that they were not fair to all tribes.
On Sunday, Mr Odinga’s spokesman, Mr Dennis Onyango, said: “The PM says he was not consulted. He also does not understand what their specific roles are because the Constitution says that governors will be in charge of the counties. He feels their appointment is a recipe for chaos in the counties,” Mr Onyango stated.
While making the appointments on Friday, State House explained that they were in line with Section 17 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The sections says: “Within five years after the effective date, the national government shall restructure the system of administration commonly known as the provincial administration to accord with and respect the system of devolved government established under this Constitution.”
The county commissioners will coordinate security, national government functions and delivery of services, according to the announcement from the President Press Service (PPS).
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President Kibaki has now come out more personally in advance of ICC pre-trial proceedings scheduled next month in the Hague to try another “Hail Mary” to get the post-election violence cases from the last election pulled away from the ICC by constituting a new international crime jurisdiction in a fledgling East African regional court that has no such authority now.
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Going by the behaviour of our politicians as they swing into the campaigns, our new Constitution has already failed us. The idea was that diminishing executive powers, restoring separation of powers and instituting devolution would lessen the intensity of the scramble for the presidency. Well it hasn’t. It is still do-or-die.
Democracy everywhere is an ideal, rather than a reality. And devolution has done nothing yet other than take the battle for the executive spoils of devolution down to the community level all across the country. And create a new battle, for retention of executive spoils, at the centre.
It is hard not to be pessimistic. But it is vital to not get hot and bothered about the electoral farce; we need instead to work to ensure the fallout every five years is not of the 2007 and 2008 variety. This is where the intentions and plans of our security services matter. And this is where the love-hate relationships between all the would-be pilots matter as well. How they group in formation is critical. It tells us who’s in and who’s out — and who among us is likely to be targeted this time round.
In this sense, all the movements away from ODM could, potentially, be worrying. If Raila Odinga is painted as the “enemy” and that portrait extends to his entire ethnicity, we know where to look for the fire next time. We are meant to have an early warning system now. Is it working?
Meanwhile, in Uganda, hope for a “deeper” democracy continue to become more distant in the short run at least, but the Ugandan military continues to grow into a role as a regional force for multinational missions:
KAKOLA, Uganda — The heart of the Obama administration’s strategy for fighting al-Qaeda militants in Somalia can be found next to a cow pasture here, a thousand miles from the front lines.
Under the gaze of American instructors, gangly Ugandan recruits are taught to carry rifles, dodge roadside bombs and avoid shooting one another by accident. In one obstacle course dubbed “Little Mogadishu,” the Ugandans learn the basics of urban warfare as they patrol a mock city block of tumble-down buildings and rusty shipping containers designed to resemble the battered and dangerous Somali capital. . . .
IBANDA, 14 May 2012 (IRIN) – Over 600 Somali troops completed six months of military training in southwestern Uganda on 10 May and are heading home to boost the forces fighting Al Shabab.
Col Winston Byaruhanga, head of Bihanga military training school in Ibanda District, told IRIN the 603 soldiers who trained alongside 248 Ugandans will help bring peace and stability to the country.
“These soldiers will significantly reinforce the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and contribute to more stable conditions to deliver aid and bring the country on the way to development,” Byaruhanga told IRIN. . . .