ODM roots for parliamentary system in new law

Deputy Prime Minister and ODM Deputy Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

The Orange Democratic Movement Wednesday proposed a parliamentary system of government even as it criticised coalition partner Party of National Unity for announcing its position in the middle of consultations.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga led 10 ODM members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution in accusing President Kibaki’s PNU of acting in bad faith and undermining national consensus building efforts by jumping the gun and stating its stand.

Mr Odinga, however, left the Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to brief the press at his Treasury Building office after chairing the meeting.

To show it was committed to new constitution, Mr Mudavadi announced that ODM was ready for further consultations with PNU for a consensus in a “give-and-take” way so that Kenya can get a new constitution.

“ODM remains firmly committed to achieving consensus on the constitution review process and delivering a new constitution to Kenyans by the agreed date this year,” Mr Mudavadi said.

He said the Grand Coalition Management Committee, which brings together ODM and PNU ministers under stewardship of President Kibaki and Mr Odinga will meet Thursday to strike a deal on the new constitution.

The ODM deputy leader said the party would push for full devolution to take resources closer to the people.

He said ODM was for the parliamentary system where government is accountable to the people through parliament as opposed to an imperial presidency which is undemocratic and opaque.

“A parliamentary system will cover the diversity of our nation,” he said.

The Local Government minister said the concentration of power at one centre is responsible for tribalism, dictatorship and bad governance in Kenya.

“Power and resources must therefore be devolved and dispersed. ODM supports real devolution for power and resources to the people. Government should be closer, responsive and accountable to the people.”

The party said devolution should be in tiers- national, regional and county levels – to achieve equity for all in development.

The revised draft constitution had removed regional government and only retained national and county to cut on costs.

“The mongrel executive mixing parliamentary and presidential systems has created an executive that controls all branches of government: executive, parliament and judiciary. There are no proper checks and balances in the system,” Mr Mudavadi said.

He said those calling for the retention of imperial presidency without the system of checks and balances whereby ministers would be appointed from outside Parliament “appear not to be serious about having an accountable government.”

All the ODM members in the PSC on constitution including Tourism Minister Najib Balala who have been at loggerheads with Mr Odinga over the party leadership attended the meeting.

Others were: MPs Ababu Namwamba, Chachu Ganya, Sophia Abdi Noor and Cabinet ministers James Orengo, Anyang Nyong’o, Charity Ngilu, Amason Kingi, Henry Kosgey and assistant minister Joseph Nkaissery.

ODM consultant on constitution Mr Mutakha Kangu and Mr Odinga’s advisor on coalition affairs were also present.