Friday, January 04, 2008

ODM-Kenya ready for talks

By Mutinda Mwanzia

After his party secured 15 seats in Parliament, ODM-Kenya leader, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, is expected to play a key role in a coalition government.

The Mwingi North MP-elect is expected to lead his troops in warming up to President Kibaki.

On Friday, the Saturday Standard learnt that already, the ODM-K party MPs were lobbying for inclusion in the yet to be named Cabinet.

An MP from Ukambani, who sought anonymity, said they were ready to join Kibaki’s Cabinet and form a coalition.

"The best option for our party is to work with Kibaki," said the MP.

Kalonzo, who emerged third in the just concluded presidential election, has previously insisted he was ready to join any post-election coalition with the winning party.

Party secretary-general, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, said ODM-Kenya would play a key role in a post-election coalition.

"We have the numbers and will certainly play our role," he said.

The Mbooni MP-elect is one of Kalonzo’s key advisors and political strategists.

Other MPs expected to feature in the arrangement include wealthy gemstone dealer and Kangundo MP-elect, Mr Nduya Muthama and his Kibwezi counterpart, Prof Philip Kaloki.

Muthama has been one of the party’s key financiers while Kaloki has hosted Kalonzo during his campaign tours in the US.

Kaloki, who was teaching at Dallas Baptist University, US, before plunging into politics, is also the executive director of the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation.

The two and Mutula are tipped to bag Cabinet positions if the party enters into a coalition with the Kibaki Government.

ODM-Kenya won 13 seats in Ukambani and two others in Bura and Saku constituencies.

But Kalonzo insists he is yet to be offered the V-P’s slot in the yet to be named Cabinet.

Kalonzo told the Saturday Standard in an exclusive interview at his Nairobi residence that he was not interested in the position, saying it was not a priority for now.

"My focus at the moment is to see the country remain united, with no further incidences of the anarchy threatening to tear our nation apart," he said.

The former Cabinet minister said it was meaningless for him to accept the slot when the country was in chaos.

"If I have to negotiate with President Kibaki over the position, I will make it open. We must face the reality that the nation first needs healing and not pursuit of positions," he said.

But he added: "The future of governments in this country is coalitions. No party is capable of doing business alone."

Political parties, he said, must prepare to work together.

"Let us not be afraid to talk to other parties even if we are called traitors," he added.

Kalonzo said he had met President Kibaki in a bid to find an end to the post-election chaos that has engulfed the country.

"I have appealed to Kibaki to initiate dialogue and end the bloodletting threatening to destroy the nation," he said.


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