Let me clarify that I have nothing personal against NMG.
I would like to draw your attention to the Nation editorial today: In the editorial, titled 'Annan must insist on a ceasefire first' combined with former Subukia MPs Koigi Wamwere's 'Power-sharing most viable option' in the op-ed leave a lot to be desired.
Read the full editorial here:
And Koigi's commentary here:
Which is an abuse to Father Gabriel Dolan's commentary calling for a transitional government under a constitutional arrangement on the same page here:
The editorial says in part: 'It is a fact almost a prerequisite (sic) for negotiations to any conflict that the protagonists must first agree to a ceasefire while the talks continue.'
Koigi Wamwere in the op-ed urges Kibaki to form a government of national unity incorporating Raila as PM. He admits that he urged Kibaki to consider making Kalonzo his veep twice before the appointment was made. Whether that is also an admission that he is complicit in the chaos we are experiencing is for you to judge.
Let me begin with the editorial. Couched in the language of diplomacy, the issue it seems to be addressing by focusing on Annan's mission, it asks Kibaki and Raila to "urge their respective supprters to lay down their arms during the search for peace". Nation fails to take notice of its own page 1 report that several teargas canisters were lobbed into a funeral service addressed by Raila yesterday. The context was that Rail was speaking when a group of youngsters started robbing motorists on Ngong Road. Instead of dealing with the criminal gang, police spilled it over into the funeral service.
The questions to ask are:
1. Between those at the funeral service at Ligi Ndogo and those on Ngong road terrorising motorists, who were Raila's supporters?
2. Assuming that those criminals who provoked the police were truly Raila's supporters, did they bear arms as Nation is saying? Compare that to a story in Standard (Page 4) where in Limuru, police responding to a similar attack on motorists were shot. Let me quote it: "But some of the youths in the Limuru fracas were armed with guns and fired back."
3. By asking Raila to urge his supporters to lay down their arms, Nation is suggesting that Raila sent the criminals to cause mayhem on Ngong road, and that he has the power to ask them to lay down their arms (whatever that means). It also means Raila is somehow, culpable in the acts of that gang.
Turning on Kibaki, noting that Nation also asks him to make his supporters lay down their arms, the following questions emerge:
1. Are police, since they bear arms, Kibaki's supporters?
2. Now that it emerges from the Standard story that indeed, some party supporters bear arms, were the criminals in Limuru Kibaki's supporters? Are they part of the revived Mungiki gang?
3. Under what circumstances should Kibaki order police to lay down their arms? Does it mean nation recognises he is responsible for the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the police in Kisumu and elsewhere?
Onto other related issues, ODM, which we can say Raila is in control of as its team leader, has called off mass protests twice, today and last week. In reciprocation, Kibaki appointed a cabinet as Kufuor was landing in the the country. More people have been killed by police in uniform, falling directly under Kibaki's command. Why did Nation see it fit to press Raila to cede more ground when Kibaki is heading the opposite direction?
I'll be brief on Koigi's commentary. If Kibaki should form a coalition with Raila and Kalonzo, what does it mean for the future? Will future presidential contenders (Waweru Ng'ethe, Pius Muiru, Nazlin Umar etc) automatically qualify?
A more fundamental issue has to do with the constitution. Koigi Wamwere thinks we have short memories. During the Bomas conference, he and Kivutha Kibwana were vehemently opposed to the creation of an executive PM's post. Indeed, he followed that up by not only persuading fellow delegates to walk out of Bomas but proceeded to campaign vigorously for the Wako draft that ddi away with the executive PM's post. Now he is asking Kibaki to make Rail a PM. Let me quote his third para.
"However, for Raila to join a coalition with Kibaki, the President must invite him. But having made Kalonzo Musyoka, the third man in the presidential race, his vice president, President Kibaki should make Raila, the second runner, prime minister and cede reasonable powers to him, as he should cede others to VP."
Thinking we are easily deluded, Koigi even suggests that his proposal would "enhance our democracy, not weaken it. I know this will hurt opposition in parliament but our democracy can only be built upon a foundation of reconciliation, justice, peace and unity."
Knowing full well that Parliament is the only means by which ODM can be heard, the judiciary and executive in Kibaki's grip, Koigi wants the opposition killed for the sake of reconciliation, justice, peace and unity.
Need I say more about this blatant arrogance and myopic hypocrisy?
Nation's carrying of Koigi's comment may be excusable since that is a personal opinion. However, to do so at a time when the country is trying to heal (you would think that's why it had the mass action called off as its lead story rather than the teargas at Raila's rally, for example), is to portray partisan interests as the real motivation.
Oh, did you notice that in the print edition the Koigi article is carried under the banner 'Mending Fences'? I think NMG is not just being cheeky but downright dishonest.