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Published 4th February 2005

Vol 46 No 3


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.

The new flagbearers

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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As the governing National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) quarrels over internal elections, Kenya's alliance system is becoming increasingly fluid and a new set of leaders is jockeying fo...

Peace is pricey

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Kinshasa's political chiefs will lose their incomes if they lose the elections

Logistical obstacles and political arguments surround the transitional government's decision to postpone national elections, due in June and now put off by at least six months. Com...

Operation Kisanja

A proposed third term for the President upsets Ugandans' hopes for peace

hey marched through Kampala, waving dried banana leaves and banners reading 'Operation Kisanja'. Some held aloft three fingers, showing support for a third term for President Yower...


The government blames the opposition for firing on the President's convoy: Guineans are sceptical

Guinea's President Lansana Conté regularly claims to be the target of plots. This time, he was actually shot at. The regime has found a convenient opposition figure to blame...

Pass the ammunition

President Yoweri Museveni's government in Kampala remains locked in a bloody counterinsurgency campaign against the Lord's Resistance Army, a fierce and brutal pseudo-Christian cul...

Wearing green

The government knows it's not trusted and it cannot afford another constitution

Green neckties are popular in Zambia's National Assembly these days. The Speaker had banned the wearing of green ribbons in the House, since members were wearing them to call for a...


Who's spooking who?

Reports that British intelligence is training Sudan government spies raise awkward questions about policy following the 1 February release of a 244-page United Nations report detai...

High noon

President Laurent Gbagbo is heading for another showdown with France. He is rebuilding his modest airforce, bombed to cinders by French jets on 6 November after loyalist forces had...