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Last Updated: Monday, 8 September, 2003, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Kenya row over Prime Minister post
By Noel Mwakugu
BBC, Nairobi, Kenya

President Mwai Kibaki
President Kibaki has rejected suggestions that he should share power
Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki and his key ally in last year's general election, Raila Odinga, are headed for a major political confrontation.

President Kibaki says that he is in full charge of the nation and has openly rejected calls by Mr Odinga's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that he should share power by appointing Mr Odinga as an executive prime minister.

According to a pre-election agreement between the parties that form Kenya's ruling National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), the post of executive prime minister was to have been created and allocated to the LDP.

But President Kibaki has ruled out the possibility, much to the dismay of Mr Odinga's followers who played a major role in President Kibaki's overwhelming victory in the 2002 general elections.

Addressing an Anglican congregation on Sunday in the capital, Nairobi, President Kibaki said that the present Kenyan political order will remain in place, raising further the already high political temperature in the NARC.

Lobbying

Although Kenya has been officially mourning the death of Vice-President Wamalwa for the last two weeks, it was evident that the political engines were operating in overdrive with different parties lobbying for the vacant position of the Vice-President.
Raila Odinga
Raila's LDP party says a pre-election agreement on a premier's post must be honoured

Political pundits hinted that President Kibaki might just kill two birds with one stone by appointing a non-executive premier as earlier agreed by his cabinet as well as a Vice-President to end the looming clash within NARC.

The president's stand has been received with mixed feelings by both his friends and enemies.

"I think that after occupying that seat he has found it very sweet and he will not be in a hurry to relinquish the powers that he has found in that office," says Mutula Kilonzo, an opposition Kanu nominated MP and the party's lawyer.

"It is rather sad because he was in the forefront of the fight for the devolution of the powers of the office of the president," he adds.

Checks and balances

The Kenya constitutional conference, taking place in Nairobi, is expected to endorse far-reaching changes in the country's political order.

Raila Odinga's brother, Dr Oburu Odinga who is also a senior member of the LDP says the creation of the premier's post should not be personalised.

"This is not a position being created for Raila Odinga, or Mwai Kibaki, or anybody else....it is being created for Kenyans so that they can have checks and balances," says Dr Oburu Odinga, adding that the LDP will not rest until a prime minister's post is created.


SEE ALSO:
Kenya buries vice-president
06 Sep 03  |  Africa
Obituary: Michael Kijana Wamalwa
23 Aug 03  |  Africa
Kenya's vice-president dies
23 Aug 03  |  Africa
Kenya's new era assessed
08 Apr 03  |  Africa
Kenyan leader back in hospital
20 Jan 03  |  Africa
Boost for Kenyan opposition
09 Dec 02  |  Africa


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