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Vol 50 No 9

Published 1st May 2009


Kenya

Who is in charge here?

The coalition government looks irreparably split but Speaker Kenneth Marende has offered a temporary fix

Kenya's coalition squabbles have spilled over into Parliament (AC Vol 50 No 9). The latest, and worst, row between the coalition partners, President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), involves a tussle over nominating the Leader of Government Business and the Chairmanship of the House Business Committee. Citing executive authority and 45 years of tradition, President Kibaki wrote to Speaker Kenneth Otiato Marende a week before Parliament was due to reopen on 21 April, nominating his Vice-President, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, as Leader of Government Business. That nomination would almost automatically give Musyoka the chair of the House Business Committee, which determines Parliament's agenda. However, Odinga too had written to the Speaker, nominating himself as chairman of the Business Committee by virtue of his role as Government Supervisor. It was the first open contest over executive authority since the signing of the National Accord in February 2008.

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