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Vol 43 No 25

Published 20th December 2002


The big men look to the future

As President Moi prepares to retire, his fello septuagenarian President Mugabe continues the battle for power

Holding their collective breath, Kenyans expect a new government by the new year and the peaceable retirement of their leader of 24 years, 78-year-old Daniel arap Toroitich Moi. Zimbabweans are in the midst of their country's worst economic crisis since the liberation war and face the determination of another 78-year-old, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, to remain in power until the third chimurenga (the war against invaders) has been completed. A decade ago, the possibility that Moi would hand over power to an opposition leader after multi-party elections looked remote. Zimbabwe has proved more predictable: few doubted that Mugabe would seize white farms and ruthlessly suppress dissent if an opposition party gained political ground. Economic collapse and corruption may prove to be the most dangerous of Moi's legacies, storing up mass social unrest as his successors battle to reform the threadbare public services and create jobs. Much will depend on the energy of Kenya's business class, increasingly marginalised during the Moi years by a cabal of commission agents which drove productive investment away.

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