Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Speaker who can take a lead

Whoever is the next Speaker of the House of Commons has a tremendous task is restoring respect and dignity to the post. But will they ever be in a position where they potentially have to step in to save the entire political system?

Kenya has dropped out of the international news ever since the announcement of the "National Accord" power-sharing agreement, but it's not been all plain sailing. Recently a crisis loomed when the two main parties in the government clashed over which party would hold the post of Leader of Government Business (equivalent to Leader of the House of Commons) and chair the National Assembly's House Business Committee that sets the parliamentary agenda. An impasse loomed which threatened to prevent many key unity & reconciliation measures being undertaken and to break up the unity coalition government. (See Afrique en ligne: Kenya Speaker steps in to save Coalition Govt for more details.)

It thus fell to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Kenneth Marende, to rule on the matter and he did so not only in a way that resolved the impasse for now but also preserved the neutrality and dignity of the chair:

But before any asks, I don't think Kenya can currently spare Marende to come and take the role in the Commons!

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