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Nasa to tackle formula for power sharing in talks

Fresh details have come to light on the power sharing deal expected to be agreed upon by the Nasa leaders during their coast retreat on Monday,

Sources in the opposition coalition’s national coordinating committee chaired by Siaya Senator James Orengo and the technical team of experts headed by lawyer Dan Ameyo revealed that they had agreed on the creation of a powerful position of the “premier” to be handed to the “third principal” in the power sharing deal after settling on a presidential candidate and a running mate. 

RUTO TO JOIN
Earlier, there had been confusion over whether the retreat, scheduled to be held in Kilifi County, would proceed even though one of the four principals, ODM leader Raila Odinga, was away in South Africa and would return to the country late Monday afternoon.

The Sunday Nation later learnt that Mr Odinga would arrive in time for the deliberations.

A suggestion to have the meeting held outside the country was shelved.

The meeting would have Bomet Governor and Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Ruto, who has indicated an interest in joining the opposition coalition.

“I will be part of the group. I don’t want to say more because I am not the Nasa spokesman,” Mr Ruto said when asked to comment that he will be at the retreat.

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Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who had also flown to Dubai on Wednesday night, returned on Friday in readiness for the make or break retreat.

The expectation is that they will agree on the Nasa presidential candidate and his running mate after dithering for weeks.

The retreat will discuss a power sharing structure that aims to distribute power to all the four principals and their parties.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi was cagey about the details of the retreat, saying it depended on whether the Orengo-led team had finalised its report, which will inform the deliberations on the Nasa power sharing deal.

“The committee must complete its report and hand it to the co-principals. Everything is dependent on that,” he told the Sunday Nation.

But Minority Leader in the National Assembly and a member of the committee, Mr Francis Nyenze, said the meeting would go on as planned.

“The technical committee report were presented to the principals a while ago, and they were given time to study and internalise its contents; now they are retreating to discuss the recommendations and agree among themselves,” the Kitui West MP, a close ally of Mr Musyoka, said.

CHIEF MINISTER
Mr Nyenze revealed that while the 12-member coordinating team would attend the three-day retreat, they will not be allowed into the closed-door meetings where the four principals – Mr Odinga, Mr Mudavadi, Mr Musyoka and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula – will discuss the power structure.

“There are certain aspects I can’t divulge especially the report by the technical committee because that would jeopardise the delicate process and create mistrust within the coalition parties,” he said.

A draft document seen by the Sunday Nation, which will form a key part of the agenda, proposes the creation of a powerful position similar to that of the prime minister in the grand coalition government then occupied by Mr Odinga.

The position was in previous documents referred to as “chief minister”, but now appears to have an enhanced role and will be occupied by one of the two principals who will miss out on the presidential ticket. 

“To address the position of the Third Principal it is still possible to create the office of premier (premier secretary) and secretary of interior and homeland security,” the document states.

“The titles and portfolios of Cabinet Secretaries are not designed by and provided for in the Constitution or any statute. Therefore, to form government with an office of Cabinet Secretary designated as a Premier cannot be held to be unconstitutional or illegal.”

PROPOSED LINEUP
The committee proceeds to propose the creation of the “office of the premier who will be the most senior Cabinet Secretary”.

Among the functions of the holder of the proposed office are the coordination of cabinet business and the cabinet office, the coordination of government business and parliamentary business including leader of government business in Parliament.

The Premier will also chair all cabinet committees and coordinate all special programmes implemented by the Nasa government.

He will additionally be in charge of homeland security comprising police, public safety, immigration and correctional institutions, international boundaries and coast guard, the experts propose.

A previously leaked document had indicated that Mr Odinga was proposed as the presidential candidate with Mr Musyoka as his running mate while Mr Mudavadi would be the chief minister (now premier).

Mr Wetng’ula was said to have been proposed as Speaker of the National Assembly.

However, the line-up and the supposed report have been dismissed by the affiliate parties.

LEADERSHIP SLOTS
The Sunday Nation could not reach Mr Wetang’ula but sources said he was not keen on taking up the position of Speaker.

“He said that he could not take a post that places him at the mercy of MPs,” a source privy to the delicate negotiations said.

The Bungoma senator is then said to have been offered an influential Cabinet post.

It was not clear whether he had accepted or declined the offer ahead of the retreat.

The four principals are also expected to discuss and agree on the equally delicate issue of sharing slots in government, including cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, and other key positions.

The experts, the Sunday Nation learnt, had proposed the sharing of positions in government on a 30-30-20-20 per cent basis with the parties led by the presidential candidate and his running mate taking fewer positions than the parties led by the remaining two principals.

It was not immediately clear whether this will change following the coming on board of Mr Ruto and his Chama Cha Mashinani.

MINIMISE DAMAGE
The retreat had been earlier planned for an Indian Ocean island, which some sources said was Zanzibar, but some of the principals insisted that it be held within the country.

As part of the strategy to minimise the damage likely to be caused by internal political competition in counties, candidates from affiliate parties competing for same positions will be encouraged to adopt a give-and-take spirit and work together after elections.

Examples have been cited of Nairobi city, Turkana and Kajiado where the respective governors have shared power to a certain mutually agreed percentage.

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