Recurring politics of broken promises and dashed MoUs
5 days ago, 11:14
On the morning of January 3, 2008, at the height of the post-election violence, four MPs met in an office on the 6th floor of Harambee House, for talks to salvage the government of President Mwai Kibaki.
The quartet, close allies of the President and one of his challengers in the disputed 2007 presidential election, Kalonzo Musyoka, had 24 hours to come up with a power-sharing agreement to be signed by Mr Kibaki and Kalonzo.
Kibaki, who had controversially won the presidential election whose results were disputed by his main rival, Orange Democratic Movement’s (ODM) Raila Odinga, had reached out to Kalonzo to shore up his legitimacy.
Minister for Internal Security John Michuki, who represented Kibaki, had hosted the meeting in his boardroom. Also on the President’s side was Party of National Unity (PNU) colleague Amos Kimunya. Representing Kalonzo were Johnstone Muthama and David Musila.
“This was the first coalition government before the formation of the grand coalition of Kibaki and Raila. Brokering the deal was a tedious assignment. The country was experiencing bloodshed and Kibaki needed to strengthen his position. He was the President but ODM had more MPs. He needed Kalonzo to balance the equation,” Mr Muthama recalled.
According to Muthama, besides the sharing of Cabinet posts and other portfolios, part of the agreement was that Kibaki would support Kalonzo to succeed him in 2013.
“We agreed that Kibaki and PNU would not field a presidential candidate. This was an issue that even President Uhuru Kenyatta fully supported. He supported the idea of Kalonzo succeeding Kibaki,” claimed Muthama.
Kalonzo, the Wiper party leader, insists that Kibaki betrayed him by reneging on an agreement to support him to succeed as President.
Kalonzo was categorical that as the 10th vice-president, he was the only one whose appointment arose from negotiation rather than through political appointment as was done previously.
“ODM-Kenya agreed to form an alliance with Kibaki’s PNU to form the PNU Alliance on condition that I was to be supported for the presidency in 2012. This was a negotiated position and not just any appointment,” said Kalonzo.
But, as has been the fate of previous and subsequent memorandums of understanding that have been dishonoured and sparked furious blame games, this one also imploded. Not even the key players seem to agree on what its contents were.
“The alleged promise by Kibaki to support Kalonzo was not in the deal. If there was any such deal it must have been made in their private discussions,” said Mr Musila when asked about the agreement.
Musila, who rose to become Wiper chairman, has since fallen out with Kalonzo and backed Uhuru in the last elections.
When contacted for an interview, Mr Kimunya, who was the minister for Finance in Kibaki’s administration, responded by asking what the topic entailed. When told it was a story about coalition agreements and specifically the Kibaki-Kalonzo 2008 agreement, he did not respond to our subsequent enquiries.
Martha Karua, who also served as the minister for Justice in Kibaki’s government, also ...
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