Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka says a tribunal to deal with the perpetrators of the post-election violence is not a priority. He tells Deutsche Welle about his country's political and economic future.
Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka believes his country can move forward
Deutsche Welle: What was the purpose of your visit to Germany?
Kalonzo Musyoka: I was invited to Germany by friends who organized every year what has now come to be called (as) the Berlin gathering. This is a gathering that brings together people from all over the world to be able to discuss issues based on the principle of understanding within the biblical meaning of the word.
But they also take the opportunity to address world issues. Like now the theme for the 14th edition of the gathering was “responsibility before Man and before God in the face of the current financial crisis.” This is my third time to attend this gathering and it does promote a lot of understanding including an element of conflict resolution.
Back home in Kenya some still witness a continuation of the power struggle among partners in the coalition government. Why have you failed as a government so far to find a common ground?
But in any coalition government, you will agree with me that there are always disagreements. In fact we borrowed heavily as Kenya from the example of Germany – where they have a grand coalition government. Now they are going to elections in September and you hear them talking in different languages because naturally that is expected of any coalition government. So when we have our little quarrels… the world should not take it as if there is a power struggle because there is no power struggle.
You said there is no power struggle in Kenya but recently Kenyans hailed Speaker Kenneth Marende when he made that landmark ruling by appointing himself the leader of government business. In your view how long will the status quo remain?
You see that was a momentary thing and a lot of water has gone under the ground. By the way he did not appoint himself leader of government business. What he did was that he was going to chair the house business committee. Now these are two separate organs. The house business committee is a committee that is charged with the responsibility of agreeing on the government agenda before parliament.
But the leader of government business is a completely different person and the speaker cannot play that role because it is the executive's business to set the program for debate in the house and it cannot therefore be that the legislature in this case headed by the speaker does both the work of the executive and the legislature.
Kofi Annan (left) helped to broker a power-sharing deal between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (center) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has given the Kenyan government a deadline by August if there is no special tribunal to deal with perpetrators of the post-election violence then it's all the way to the Hague. Prime Minister Raila Odinga as well as President Mwai Kibaki have supported Annan. What is your stand or rather position on this issue?
Both the president, the prime minister and I unfortunately we were able to lose in the vote because various MPs held different views. We have said we will make another attempt at trying to convince parliament to agree to set up a local tribunal as opposed to the international tribunal at the Hague. But this is work under progress. Again, it should not be the cause for any measure of tension because the country must heal.
We have already set up the Truth, Justice and reconciliation Committee, which is supposed to spearhead the work of national healing and reconciliation. Therefore to me issues of the Hague or not the Hague, tribunal or no tribunal should be secondary to the fact that Kenyans are working at forgiveness and of course agreeing that some of these issues will be better be addressed under new constitution dispensation which is what we are working on.
Mr. Vice President as we all know that the next general elections in Kenya are due in 2012 where Kalonzo Musyoka will once again be the presidential candidate?
We will cross that bridge when we get to it. Right now we want to involve a culture of how to work. We are dealing with a situation which is undermined by the serious famine and poverty. We have to carry out what we are calling agenda of the Serena talks (name of the hotel where the reconcilation talks were held-ed.) under Kofi Annan, talks which were able to identify the salient features of the challenges facing the country including youth unemployment and the need to bring social harmony and cohesion.
Kalonzo Musyoka is Kenya's vice president.
Interview: Mohamed Abdulrahman (CM)
Editor: Rob Mudge