In Kenya, six cabinet ministers have launched a new campaign dubbed “The New Face of Kenya.” The campaign seeks to promote patriotism and popularize President Mwai Kibaki and his administration in the months leading up to next year’s general election. The group says it wants to improve cooperation within the cabinet and avoid tribalism in an effort to encourage national unity and stimulate socio-economic growth. Its members have distanced themselves from confrontational politics, which they say was a focus of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leaders. Newton Kulundu, Kenya’s minister of labor, is among the six cabinet ministers who started the campaign. He spoke with English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the group’s objectives.
“The current crop of cabinet members, I should say they are all behind the new [government of] Kenya. Bringing the people of Kenya together rather than treating them as tribes struggling for power for the sake of benefiting setting type of block. So we think we are on top of things.”
Kulundu dismissed insinuations that Kibaki’s party suffers from laziness and infighting stemming from corruption. He said, “Graft in Kenya is a very old thing. It’s not a new phenomenon; we inherited, in fact, the largest corruption scandal in Kenya. You remember the one billion shillings that [former president Daniel Arap] Moi and his cronies, some have even disappeared from books. And the previous regime of [former president Jomo] Kenyatta also had problems with land and things like that. Now when Kibaki took over power, he tried to put institutions into place to fight this new corruption. Now corruption always fights back, those who are corrupt have the means to do advertisement, to do publicity against the new members of government. Unfortunately the diplomatic corps joined them and openly supported them.”
When asked why a sudden interest in resolving longtime problems arose now, he said, “That is not true; we didn’t have these problems right from the beginning. The people who joined us under the guise of LDP had their own hidden agenda. But I think the government thought that they were going to give Kenya a new start.”
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