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Vol 46 No 3

Published 4th February 2005


Kenya

Rebellion under the rainbow

Infighting in the ruling coalition over election rules and constitutional reform further undermines President Kibaki

President Mwai Kibaki faces a new schism in the ranks of the unstable National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) over his ultimatum that all its parties must hold elections by 31 March or face de-registration. That means that parties in the coalition either dissolve their organisations to stay inside the big tent or retain their own party organisation and leave it. As everyone expected, the activists of Raila Odinga's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Musikari Kombo's Forum for the Restoration of Democracy-Kenya (Ford-K) have rejected Kibaki's demands. Now, though, their ranks have been swelled by former Kibaki-ally and Health Minister Charity Ngilu, who has refused to cede her position as nominal Chairwoman of Narc, despite persistent prodding by Kibaki's faction. Kibaki's enforcers blithely insist that the election plan is on course. In reality, the LDP, Ford-Kenya and Ngilu alliance will be able to make the elections a farce in which only Kibaki's Democratic Party participates. The DP is Kibaki's old party which he has been desperate to integrate into Narc so it can shed its image as a narrow-based political organisation for the barons of the Mount Kenya region. Soon after Kibaki took over as President in January 2003, politicians identified the 'Mt. Kenya Mafia' group of wealthy businessmen around Kibaki - and the label has stuck.

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