Power-sharing deal struck

Kibaki and Odinga have finally agreed to and signed a power-sharing deal this afternoon after talks that lasted five hours. Kudos to Kofi Annan for his unstinting commitment to keeping the negotiations going and to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

The agreement will see the creation of a new post of Prime Minister for the first time in Kenya’s history and two new roles of Deputy Prime Minister, one to be nominated by each party of the coalition. Odinga is expected to get the post of Prime Minister which will give him wide-ranging powers over government business. Kibaki will not have the power to remove Odinga, this can only be done by a vote of no confidence passed by parliament. Government posts will be divided between the parties on a fifty fifty basis with ODM getting key positions. As there is no provision for post of Prime Minister in Kenya’s constitution amendments will have to be made.

However, the deal will have to be passed by parliament when it reconvenes next week. Hopes rest on the deal being adhered to and to the deal being received positively at grass roots level following the deaths of over 1000 Kenyans and the displacement of 500,000 others following violence that flared up due to the “disputed” election. A BBC 4 reporter said that many in the IDP camps did not look on power-sharing in a favourable light for understandable reasons.

Salim Lone was interviewed on a “stop-over” trip to London by BBC 4 claimed that the reason for his visit was not due to personal death threats it has been rumoured he received but because of the lack of security in Kenya. Asked whether he thought that the deal would stick given the bad blood that exists between Kibaki and Odinga, Lone said that Odinga was a forgiving man who had cooperated with Kibaki in the past. However, it remains to be seen how the PNU treat the agreement when it reaches parliament.

“We have began a journey and this journey we will walk together,” Odinga said hopefully. “I can see light at the end of the tunnel.” These talks have given Odinga the opportunity to buff up an image tarnished earlier by demagogic speeches and appeals for mass action which Kenya’s GSU brutally suppressed with live rounds of bullets leading to scores of people being killed.

Here is the full text of the agreement

ACTING TOGETHER FOR KENYA: AGREEMENT ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PARTNERSHIP OF THE COALITION GOVERNMENT.

Preamble:
The crisis triggered by the 2007 disputed presidential election has brought to the surface deep-seated and long-standing divisions within Kenyan society. If left unaddressed, these divisions threaten the very existence of Kenya as a unified country. The Kenyan people are now looking to their leaders to ensure that their country will not be lost.
Given the current situation, neither side can realistically govern the country without the other. There must be real power-sharing to move the country forward and begin the healing and reconciliation process.

With this agreement, we are stepping forward together, as political leaders, to overcome the current crisis and to set the country on a new path. As partners in a coalition government, we commit ourselves to work together in good faith as true partners, through constant consultation and willingness to compromise.

This agreement is designed to create an environment conducive to such a partnership and to build mutual trust and confidence. It is not about creating positions that reward individuals. It seeks to enable Kenya’s political leaders to look beyond partisan considerations with a view to promoting the greater interests of the nation as a whole. It provides the means to implement a coherent and far-reaching reform agenda, to address the fundamental root causes of recurrent conflict, and to create a better, more secure, more prosperous Kenya for all.

To resolve the political crisis, and in the spirit of coalition and partnership, we have agreed to enact the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, whose provisions have been agreed upon in their entirety by the parties hereto and a draft copy is appended hereto.
Its key points are:

* There will be a Prime Minister of the Government of Kenya, with authority to coordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the Government of Kenya.

* The Prime Minister will be an elected member of the National Assembly and the parliamentary leader of the largest party in the National Assembly, or of a coalition, if the largest party does not command a majority.
* Each member of the coalition shall nominate one person from the National Assembly to be appointed a Deputy Prime Minister.

* The Cabinet will consist of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the two Deputy Prime Ministers and the other Ministers. The removal of any Minister of the coalition will be subject to consultation and concurrence in writing by the leaders.
* The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers can only be removed if the National Assembly passes a motion of no confidence with a majority vote.

* The composition of the coalition government will at all times take into account the principle of portfolio balance and will reflect their relative parliamentary strength.

* The coalition will be dissolved if the Tenth Parliament is dissolved; or if the parties agree in writing; or if one coalition partner withdraws from the coalition.

* The National Accord and Reconciliation Act shall be entrenched in the Constitution.
Having agreed on the critical issues above, we will now take this process to Parliament. It will be convened at the earliest moment to enact these agreements. This will be in the form of an Act of Parliament and the necessary amendment to the Constitution.

We believe by these steps we can together in the spirit of partnership bring peace and prosperity back to the people of Kenya who so richly deserve it.

The mood towards the agreement by bloggers is somewhat ambivalent.
Thinking Kenyan says

“The deal sounds almost too good to be true. Mwai Kibaki is known for breaking promises. Until the agreement is entrenched in the constitution or passed by parliament, the deal is still a ‘gentleman’s agreement’.”

A view echoed by Macharia Gaitho, a Kenyan journalist who says

“The really hard part begins now because this has to go to parliament. I think both sides will really have to show good faith and whip their MPs into line to make sure that whatever is proposed in parliament passes without a hitch.”

Maina Kiai, the chairman of Kenya’s national human rights commission, warned that it was too soon to celebrate.

“The cabinet will have to be leaner and should not contain hardliners,” he said. “It is too early to talk about a new Kenya.”

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