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Three Kenyan Cabinet Ministers Resign in Dispute With President Moi - 2002-10-13

In Kenya, three Cabinet ministers and an assistant minister resigned Sunday, citing loss of confidence in the government of President Daniel arap Moi. The resignations represent a major division in the ruling Kenya African National Union, KANU, and could affect the coming presidential election.

Energy Minister Raila Odinga said he and the other ministers were resigning their posts because they had lost confidence in KANU and its leadership.

The four ministers are members of the Rainbow Alliance, a group within KANU, which disagrees with President Moi over his choice of Uhuru Kenyatta as KANU's presidential candidate in general elections later this year. They say the inexperienced Mr. Kenyatta, son of the country's first president, was being groomed as President Moi's choice for the presidency. Mr. Moi, after 24 years in office, is constitutionally barred from running for re-election.

Mr. Odinga said his stint in the Cabinet has been marked by frustration. "My experience in the Cabinet has been a lesson on not how to do it, a useful experience that I will carry forward. And if I have an opportunity to serve in a future government, I will use it to advise the government in the future. There is too much centralization of power. There is no delegation of authority, and that is why ministers fear to take decisions. There is too much concentration of power in the civil service, so that ministers basically are passengers," Mr. Odinga said.

The resignations come one day before KANU is due to formally announce its presidential candidate. The Rainbow Alliance said it will hold a rally in Nairobi's Uhuru Park on the same day.

The Alliance said the KANU nomination exercise will not be free and fair, and accuses those supporting Mr. Kenyatta of manipulating the delegates list in Mr. Kenyatta's favor.

The other three ministers to resign are William Ole Ntimama of the office of the president, Planning Minister Adhu Awiti and Assistant Minister for Education Moody Awori.