Nairobi, April 5th, 2008
Contact: Rosemary Tollo, Africog, 0737 463166
The National Civil Society Congress (NCSC),
Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) and
The Movement for Political Accountability (MOPA),
launched the NO MORE THAN 24 MINISTERS Campaign to ensure our government delivers to the people of Kenya their fundamental rights. In the aftermath of the post-election crisis, our agenda is for Kenya to realize:
- sustainable and fundamental reforms,
- national reconciliation and
- economic, physical and social reconstruction.
Mr. Kibaki and Mr, Odinga::
As Kenyans, we gave our mandate to ONE of you to govern this country for the next five years. However, the OTHER one of you attempted to STEAL this mandate. Massive and brutal repression of protests ensued. Hundreds of lives were lost. Hundreds of thousands of Kenyans were displaced. They remain so to this day. To prevent further killing and disruption of lives, Kenyans accepted the imperfect but timely solution offered by the mediation process. This gave you both a LIMITED AND TRANSITIONAL mandate for reform, reconciliation, and reconstruction. However, we now see politicians misusing the crisis to create illegitimate sinecures at our expense.
THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.
SHAME ON YOU BOTH.
We emphasise the following points:1) Kenyans reject blackmail
There is an unstated threat that if Kenyans do not accept the greed of the ruling class, then the country will once again be allowed to descend into anarchy. This is our country. We will not allow Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga to mobilize the political class to blackmail us.
The overwhelming majority of Kenyans want NO MORE THAN 24 MINISTERS. Some have endured tear gas for this demand.
94% of Kenyans reject the appointment of corrupt officials and urge vetting of prospective appointments.
We urge all MPs with a conscience to join tax payers in rejecting the blackmail.
The time has come for a TOTAL RENEWAL OF LEADERSHIP and for the people's voice to be heard and respected.
2) Kenyans reject impunity
We note the attempts to entrench impunity in this country by the current elected officials. It is now clear that the ruling class in Kenya has solidified to the point where politicians think that they have a right to rule, even without our consent.
Kenyans reject the abuse of public office by politicians
In the democracy we are building in Kenya, we, the people, are the masters. Elected politicians and public officials are the servants. Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga have negated this fundamental principle. They want to bully Kenyans to accept servanthood. We reject this subversion of our sovereignty.3) Kenyans will not pay for the greed of the political class
21 million Kenyans live on less than Kshs. 60 a day. Inflation has hit the 21% mark and is still rising. The cost of unga, kerosene, petrol, fares, house rent, milk and sugar has already risen beyond the means of the masses of Kenya. To alleviate this situation, we propose that;
· All MPs pay taxes, like other Kenyans
· VAT be reduced to 4-5% on food and consumer goods, like cooking oil, petrol and kerosene
· The lower limit for taxable income be raised to Kshs. 20,000
· MP salaries be cut from Ksh. 800,000 to Kshs. 400,000
· The number of Ministers be fixed at a maximum of 24, but ideally, less
· Only one Deputy minister, with a clear job description, be assigned to each ministry
A cabinet fixed at a maximum of 24 accommodates the need for political negotiations in the post-election crisis. It is an EMERGENCY TRANSITIONAL measure. As an urgent measure of Constitutional reform, Parliament must establish a lean cabinet with defined portfolios in keeping with Section 16 of the Constitution.
Mr. Kibaki, Mr. Odinga:
The people of Kenya will not be blackmailed, bullied, or looted, by you and your political allies. For you to build wealth and political power on the bodies of over a thousand Kenyans killed, on the suffering of half-a-million Kenyans who are refugees in their own country, is an obscenity that beggars description.
We, the people of Kenya, will use every peaceful and democratic means available to us to build the Kenya that so many have suffered and died for. Our first steps in a sustained ongoing campaign of pressure:
1) We will petition all international donors, and the international community, to withhold every form of non-humanitarian aid to Kenya
2) We will create platforms and forums for Kenyans to have the substantive debate they should have had at Independence on the number and portfolios of ministries Kenya really needs. They were deprived of this debate by the greed of politicians.
3) We will launch a national and international sms and mail campaign, for Kenyans and friends of Kenya to say directly to every parliamentarian:
YOUR GREED IS OBSCENE. SHAME ON YOU.