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Vol 44 No 1

Published 10th January 2003


Mwai and Moi make history

Good political news from Kenya sends a message to opposition parties and sit-tight leaders across the continent

Après Moi there was no deluge - just celebratory whooping as Kenyans marked the demise of the seemingly eternal Kenya African National Union, its chief patron and its business associates. A grateful President Mwai Kibaki (tired and wheelchair-bound after a car accident during the campaign) told Kenyans to take a holiday on the first and second of January. Meanwhile, he selected his ministerial team for announcement on 3 January. Celebrants pause: first reality intrudes. According to differing political sources, Kibaki's cabinet had too many KANU has-beens or too many inexperienced oppositionists or it was too conscious of ethnic balance or too keen to reward political favours. At least it was smaller than Moi's last government, by two cabinet ministers and 26 assistant ministers. Beyond the political hubbub, many thought Kibaki tried hard to balance political interest and technical skills. The key components of the opposition coalition all got top jobs: Michael Kijana Wamalwa, Vice President; Raila Omolo Odinga, Minister of Pubic Works; Charity Ngilu, Health; David Mwiraria, Finance; Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, Planning. Less popular were the KANU holdovers: George Saitoti, Education; Amos Wako, Attorney General, and Sally Kosgey, Civil Service Head.

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