Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki came under immense pressure to name a new cabinet on Tuesday, as the civil society held street protests to urge the Kenyan leader to dissolve his partial cabinet and form a lean, power-sharing cabinet.
Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai and Haroun Ndubi, a Nairobi human rights lawyer, led streets protests Tuesday asking for the urgent dissolution of the cabinet to pave way for the formation of the coalition government, which has been delayed for weeks.
However, fresh hopes emerged on a new coalition government for Kenya after weeks of haggling over the distribution of senior ministerial posts, with the country’s Orange Party demanding the powerful finance ministry.
President Kibaki held talks with his partial cabinet on Monday to discuss the implementation of the peace accord that created the post of Prime Minister to head the government, two deputies and a power-sharing cabinet.
The formation of the coalition government, initially expected after parliament passed the recently-crafted National Reconciliation Accord which helped bring Kenya back from the brink of civil war, has been delayed for more than two weeks.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which claims to have won the 27 December presidential elections, warned over the weekend that a further delay in the formation of the joint power-sharing cabinet could lead to fresh elections.
“We are telling them that if they are not prepared to share power, they should prepare for fresh elections soon,” said William Ruto, a member of ODM’s top party organ, the Pentagon, which brings together senior politicians who ran for the party’s presidential ticket.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Adam Wood said on Tuesday the delay in forming the cabinet and the implementation of the peace accord was slowing down Kenya’s post-election recovery process and was likely to slow down the tourism industry.
“The shocks associated with the post-election violence affected the economy so much. That is why the earlier agreement on genuine power-sharing cabinet matters,” he said.
President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga, the Prime Minister-designate, have been deadlocked over the size of the cabinet and whether the old cabinet should be dissolved to allow the two leaders to form a fresh cabinet.
President Kibaki has been unwilling to compromise on the size of the cabinet, insisting that none of the 17 ministers he appointed soon after assuming power in January must be left out of the new cabinet and insisting on a larger cabinet of 44 ministers.
Odinga insists the cabinet must remain lean with only 34 ministers, 17 from each side, in line with a clause in the reconciliation accord, which insists on “portfolio balance” taking into account the parliamentary strength of both sides.
The Prime Minister-designate, whose role would include supervision of the cabinet, wants his party to be given the ministry of finance, the civil service ministry and the Provincial administration, which controls all the district and provincial governors.
The delay in forming the cabinet has alarmed foreign envoys who said their capitals are ready to help the government to iron out the differences. Panapress.