PM in stand-off with President over suspended ministers
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga appealed to the African Union (AU) and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday for help resolving his stand-off with President Mwai Kibaki over the suspension of two government ministers for alleged corruption. Odinga called for the AU's "immediate intervention" after Kibaki overruled his attempt to remove the Agriculture and Education Ministers to allow them to be investigated for corruption.
"The legal provisions on which the Prime Minister acted do not confer him the authority to cause a minister to vacate his or her office," Kibaki said on Monday.
"Therefore constitutionally, the two ministers remain in office."
Yet under the power-sharing agreement brokered by Annan in 2008, "neither the President nor the Prime Minister is superior to the other," countered a statement by Odinga's office on Monday.
"The national accord expressly stipulates that both principals agreed to share power equally in order to bring peace to this country," said the statement read out by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.
Kibaki on Sunday revoked the suspension of Agriculture Minister William Ruto and Education Minister Samuel Ongeri, within hours of Odinga's announcement that he was suspending them during an investigation into the disappearance of millions of dollars in foreign aid.
Kibaki and Odinga are engaged in a "political power play", Nairobi-based political analyst Evans Monari told RFI.
"The Prime Minister's testing to see how much power he can wield, and the President is telling the Prime Minister that he'll never cede any part of the presidential power to the Prime Minister."
The dispute has thrown into relief the problems with Kenya's power-sharing government, Monari says.
The coalition government was formed to end violence following Kenya's December 2007 presidential polls in which both Odinga and Kibaki claimed victory.
"What we have is a problem because there is no dispute resolution mechanism within the national code or within the amended constitution," Monari explains. "So therefore, when issues of this nature come by, the country is left with no choice but to recall the African Union and Kofi Annan again to arbitrate."
The best way to resolve the crisis is to hold elections, Monari believes.
"Kenyans can then elect the leaders they want, because as it is now the two leaders cannot agree, and it is the people of Kenya who are anxious," he says, warning that the country could even see a return to 2007's violence unless a solution is found.