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Published 9th March 2001

Vol 42 No 5


Cat and mouse

Constitutionally President Moi must step down from office but he may still hold onto the levers of power

When President Daniel arap Moi met the President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Horst Köhler, Kenya's stalled economic reform programme (see Box) was not the first thing on his mind. Moi's main worries were about his own exit from the presidency, due in December 2002. He had spent the morning of that Sunday, 25 February, and all the previous week, meeting tribal leaders from the poor regions that back him and his Kenya African National Union - Luhya of Western Province, Kalenjin and Maasai from the Rift Valley, Kamba from Eastern Province, and people from the Coast. They have recently, and surprisingly, found themselves in alliance with the National Development Party, led by the hereditary Luo leader, Raila Amolo Odinga, formerly Moi's implacable foe. The President and his political cronies - Tourism Minister Nicholas Biwott, presidential aide Joshua Kulei, his nephew Hosea Kiplagat (Chairman, Cooperative Bank of Kenya) and Mark Too (a nominated KANU member of parliament) - have been working out how to give up office yet keep control. They differ on details but seem poised to succeed, just as they succeeded in winning the 1992 and 1997 elections. Their main assets are the always divided opposition, plus support from the police and organized KANU youth. Their main problems are KANU's own divisions, which Moi has been trying to patch up with his usual tools of cajolery, inducements and threats.

Party games

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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