Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two editorials and a man under siege

Kudos Kenyan MPs, power to you! Kudos to Bonny Khalwale, mover of the censure Motion, and Ababu Namwamba, seconder. Shame on you, Kalonzo Musyoka, the lone dissenting voice.

If you are a Kenyan like me, you must know by now the fate of Finance minister Amos Kimunya (pictured) lies with Mwai Kibaki, the man who claims to be president of Kenya by virtue of being 'duly elected' and hurriedly sworn-in by a discredited Electoral Commission in January.

Kibaki's Finance minister, whose retention in that docket was hotly contested by ODM, Kibaki's partners in the grand coalition, is toast. Kaput. He has to resign or be fired, and Kibaki has no choice in the matter. While The Standard claims Kibaki "does not have to go by Parliament's decision", the truth is that the president really has no choice. I will discuss that in the next blog post.

What is intriguing is the approach by two newspapers in the country. While The Standard opines that the Kimunuya censure Motion is 'a warning to the Cabinet', its chief rival, the Daily Nation, moans the death of the Cabinet consensus. The Nation says: "It remains of paramount importance that the coalition remains in place until it has accomplished its primary mission – to secure peace and stability and ensure that the country is never again driven to the point of disintegration by political and ethnic rivalries."

In other words, the coalition must remain in place, and the govt must be seen to speak with one voice, even in a scandal like the Grand Regency larceny. Bah!

The Standard, takes a slightly different view: "The Executive, on studying the details of the transaction at greater length during a Cabinet meeting scheduled for today, may agree with most parliamentarians or reach a different conclusion from them as to whether Kimunya’s actions were lawful and what actions are necessary beyond the reprimand."

I go with The Standard. Simply because it places the Kenyan people first, not some academic concept of Cabinet consensus. We know only too well that decisions taken by the Cabinet, which meets in camera, are not open to the public. Congratulations to Lands minister James Orengo who chose to trample Cabinet consensus underfoot and placed the interests of the Kenyan people first by exposing Kimunya.

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