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Vol 43 No 24

Published 6th December 2002


Mwai's moment

The rainbow coalition looks like the people's choice ahead of President Moi's retirement

Opposition politicians have their best chance in a decade of winning power in the presidential and parliamentary elections due on 27 December. Economic hardship and intra-party feuding have swung the public mood sharply against the ruling Kenya African National Union. Fuelled by its own success in stitching together a 15-party electoral coalition with a clumsy name - the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition or NARC - the opposition smells power. If they can suspend personal ambitions long enough to outwit KANU and win the elections, opposition politicians can redraw the political landscape. Opinion polls, historical trends and anecdotal reports all put Mwai Kibaki ahead with about 45-50 per cent of the national vote. KANU's flagbearer, Uhuru Kenyatta, is expected to win 35-40 per cent and former Finance Minister-turned-oppositionist Simeon Nyachae may well come third with 7-15 per cent. The parliamentary contest looks tighter still, with KANU and the main opposition coalition neck-and neck, on course to win an estimated 90-100 seats each and Nyachae's Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-People (Ford-People) holding the balance of power.

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