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Published 6th December 2002

Vol 43 No 24


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.

Kraaling out of trouble

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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ANC loyalists' worries about leftists and labour are stifling the party and government

On 16 December 1838, Afrikaner trekkers were lured into Zulu King Dingaan's kraal and slaughtered. On that day 164 years later, President Thabo Mbeki will try to lure in his party'...

The right wing explodes

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More bombings by Afrikaner extremists have attracted some surprising sympathy

Afrikaner bombers are busy again. A dozen explosions in the past month damaged buildings, railway lines and a police aircraft hangar in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area, Western and ...

The view from the Seine

France again shows a surer hand in Africa but old allies shouldn't expect an easy ride

France's hyperactive Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has been on the road again in Africa, visiting six countries in three days last week as he sought to break the deadlock ...

The old order please

Local elections may show how the land lies as parties prepare for the post-Kérékou era

With one eye to politics after President Mathieu Kérékou departs, a significant proportion of notables are standing in the country's first communal and municipal elec...


Ugly contest

After the loss of more than 200 lives in riots blamed on the attempt to hold the Miss World contest in Abuja, a row is erupting over how the beauty pageant was financed.

No cheques

President John Kufuor's last-minute rejection of the US$1 billion loan from the shadowy International Finance Consortium (not to be confused with the World Bank's International Fin...