Saturday, April 19, 2008
By Mutuna Chanda
Saturday April 19, 2008 [04:00]
KENYA'S example in resolving its dispute shows that African nations have the capacity to solve problems internally, Kenyan High Commissioner to Zambia Lazarus Amayo has said. And High Commissioner Amayo has said the 42-member Cabinet, which also includes 52 assistant ministers, is justified considering Kenya's circumstances.
In an interview in Lusaka on Thursday just after Kenya's grand coalition Cabinet was sworn in by President Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi, High Commissioner Amayo said Africans had to take pride that if there was a problem they could resolve it on their own.
Raila Odinga, leader of Kenya's main opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), was sworn in as Prime Minister with Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta as deputy prime ministers.
"President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga reached agreement on the grand coalition overall with facilitation from the African Union (AU) and this shows that each African country has the capacity to resolve its problems as long as there is goodwill and determination," High Commissioner Amayo said. "Kenyans are happy that the President and Prime Minister have demonstrated concern for unity through their agreement on the grand coalition."
He said Kenya was now focusing on nation-building.
"Now it's back to work. It's time for service delivery, nation building and one of our top priorities will be the resettlement of internally displaced persons who were at 300,000 but the number has now reduced," he said. "We believe we will be able to
make it and despite all that we have experienced, the Kenyan economy has shown resilience and we hope we will manage to get five to six per cent economic growth.
Our quest is the vision to transform our economy into middle-income status by 2030."
And High Commissioner Amayo admitted that the Kenyan Cabinet was large but that it was justified to have such a huge number.
"It has happened because we were dealing with an extraordinary situation which required extraordinary measures to resolve the situation that we were facing," High Commissioner Amayo said.
"The most important thing is for peace to prevail. If that large number is the cost of peace then Kenyans have accepted. I believe that after the 10th Parliament in 2012, we will not have such a large Cabinet but for the current circumstances, it is justified."
Kenya's disputed presidential polls on December 27 last year in which President Kibaki emerged winner, sparked violence, which saw 1,500 people killed and 300,000 displaced.
After intense negotiations, agreement for a coalition government was reached on February 28 and a new Cabinet was announced on April 13 by President Kibaki.