ICC Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo will spend five days in Kenya, including visits with victims and to areas most affected by post election violence, and a public question-and-answer session, along with civil society, religious and business groups. He has also offered to meet with those who believe they may be unfairly identified as suspects.
In the meantime, the EU envoys have spoken out against a continuing climate of fear for potential witnesses. A variety of reports indicate a pattern of intimidation and threats against prospective witnesses, and concerns have been raised about leaks of witness identities from within the Kenya National Human Rights Commission which has done much of the initial investigative work on the violence. A former senior official of the Kenyan Administration Police is said to be among those who have fled the country for safety in the absence of an effective witness protection program in Kenya.
The Indian Ocean Newsletter reported that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta hosted a meeting with Ministers William Ruto and Najib Balala at his Nairobi residence April 4 “to agree their stories for the ICC.”
You might think that Higher Education, Science and Technology would be pretty important for Kenya’s future–and you would be right. But, the Nation is good enough to explain that Agriculture is the plum post because it controls 30 parastatals, whereas Higher Ed, Science and Technology only controls three.
OK, so now we investigate the Maize Scandal, anyone, please . . .
Of course, Hon. Kimunya now gets to bring his standards to Transportation, since no accountability has yet to attach to the Grand Regency Hotel sale scandal. Kibaki cronies have key interests in common carriers in Nairobi.
The power struggle started with Cabinet and other government appointments, was amplified by the fierce opposition to the PM’s drive to clear the Mau forest of illegal encroachment and has seemingly come to a head with the two taking divergent positions on the new constitution.
But for Mr Odinga, taking Mr Ruto down a peg because of the issues they have differed on might be secondary to the longer-term goal of shaping his political forces ahead of 2012 elections.
“Breaking News” story from the Daily Nation. In a nutshell it would seem that PM Odinga was able to assert leadership within ODM in the face of opposition from Ruto and Balala, and the Parliament overall broke a deadlock and is position now to take up substantive business, to the extent that it choses.
Going forward, it seems hard not to expect Ruto to formally break from ODM but probably not during this session of Parliament. Parliament will again be faced with a “local tribunal” bill on the post-election violence, but I would think it is unlikely to move. While the ICC awaits further submission from Ocampo early next month to explain why the Court should authorize an investigation of key suspects, visions of complete immunity must be dancing in the heads of the perpetrators.
The opening of Parliament promises to showcase the political wrangling toward 2012, as well as the key thing that Members seem to be fully dependable on: salary and expense increases. The most important business, consideration of a new constitution, will kick off with the delivery of the latest “harmonized draft” from the Committee of Experts to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution on Wednesday, with the Committee to then table the draft on the 25th for 30 days of debate.
The opening ceremony will feature the opportunity for President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga to be in the same room at the same time under strained circumstances–a bit of a reprise of the opening of the first session of this 10th Parliament back in 2008. Of course, at that time Odinga was the leader of ODM as the majority party that proceeded to elect the Speaker in during the contested post-election period, whereas he is now Kibaki’s “partner” in the Grand Coalition, and Prime Minister, at least on paper.
PNU stalwarts seek to challenge ODM by moving to change house rules to provide to the President the unilateral power to appoint the leader of government business, with the intent that Kibaki would then appoint VP Kalonzo Musoyka, the erstwhile leader of the ODM-K. See my post with the choice words Kalonzo had for the performance of Kibaki when he was running for the ODM nomination back in the summer of 2007. This will of course raise the question of whether Agriculture Minister Ruto, having been “suspended” by Prime Minister Odinga and “unsuspended” by President Kibaki remains in a meaningful sense aligned with ODM, of which he holds a deputy position, or sides with Kalonzo and Uhuru Kenyatta and others on the PNU side of the “Grand Coaliton”. A move to add to the unilateral powers of the Presidency, in regard to the Parliament, is also an interesting element in terms of what Kenyans might expect in regard to a new constitution.
Parliament is also to take up the matter of finally appointing a new head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission in the face of renewed public and diplomatic pressure on corruption.
Here is a tough challenge to Ruto in the Nairobi Star. Note that the author has identified himself as “Raila’s adviser for coalition affairs and joint secretary to the Permanent Committee on the Management of Grand Coalition Affairs” while describing Ruto’s background as an anti-reformer in KANU Youth 92, saying he became wealthy without explantion of the sources, questioning the basis for his objection to trying post-election violence suspects pursuant to the Waki report and questioning what he has actually done to uphold the rights of youth who may have been unfairly targeted in the post-election arrests.
In the meantime, Ruto continues as Minister for Agriculture, a portfolio that ought to matter a great deal right now as far as the welfare of the public and the overall effectiveness of the Coalition Government.
It seems to me that the internal tension within the Government will only continue to escalate for some time going forward. Absent a decision by the ICC to stand down it is hard to see the split between Odinga and Ruto being papered over–while at the same time two of the leading figures on the Kibaki/PNU side of the coalition, Uhuru and Kalonzo, are floating alliances with Ruto.
And today the Standard reports that Speaker Marende has stated in Western Province his intention to run for President himself in the coming election.
The one constant seems that all of the key figures in government have their eyes on issues much beyond doing their immediate jobs.