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Kenya's President Dismisses Entire Cabinet

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki Wednesday dissolved his cabinet one day after suffering a humiliating defeat in a referendum on a government-backed constitution. The vote was a blow to Mr.Kibaki's government.

President Mwai Kibaki gave the order at state house Nairobi and said the results of the referendum show the voters have little confidence in their government.

"Following the results of the referendum it has become necessary for me as the president of the republic to reorganize my government to make it more cohesive and better able to serve the people of Kenya," he said. "Accordingly I have directed that the offices of all ministers and all assistant ministers become vacant. Consequently the occupants of the said offices cease to hold their respective offices with immediate effect."

He said he would announce a new government within two weeks.

Some Kenyans had urged Mr. Kibaki to fire those ministers they saw as largely responsible for the defeat the government suffered in the Monday referendum. Among them was the constitutional affairs minister who was responsible for organizing the referendum and others whose names have been linked to several corruption scandals.

The defeat of Kenya's new constitution was a resounding victory for opponents of the draft, including the leader of the opposition, Uhuru Kenyatta, and seven ministers of Mr. Kibaki's cabinet.

Political scientist at the University of Nairobi, Musambai Katumanga, says the president must be careful in picking his new cabinet.

"The move was inevitable or it was coming but it depends on what he wants to do in terms of the people he is going to pick," he said. "The people whom he should be getting rid of are the people who have misadvised him and taken the nation where it is now."

Mr. Katumanga says the president must now address the questions of ethnic exclusion and corruption, which have afflicted his government from the time he came to power in the year 2002.

In Monday's referendum, seven out of eight provinces rejected the government-backed draft. Only the president's home province approved it.