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Kenyans Optimistic About Cabinet

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga are expected to meet today to come up with members that would constitute a cabinet. Polls show that about ninety percent of Kenyans have expressed optimism ahead of naming the cabinet. Some Kenyans are reportedly positive that the peace deal that resulted in the power sharing arrangement between President Kibaki and opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Raila Odinga, would hold.

From the capital, Nairobi, political science professor Kabiru Kinyanjui tells reporter Peter Clottey that both President Kibaki and Odinga are under intense pressure to come up with a cabinet that would be satisfactory to all Kenyans.

“There is very high expectations by Kenyans to see who would be appointed to the cabinet, and the competence they would bring to the cabinet, and also regional balances between the ODM and also the PNU (Party of National Unity). So the expectation is very high and especially, for the two positions, who are going to be named deputy prime ministers. Where they are going to come from and the kind of competencies they are going to bring to the cabinet,” Kinyanjui pointed out.

He reckons that President Kibaki and Odinga are under enormous pressure to come up with a cabinet today.

“On one hand those are expected to produce people who will bring reconciliation, and would be able to deliver services to Kenyans, particularly to deal with the issues of resettlement of the displaced persons. And also people who can be able to bring about healing to Kenyans who are wounded, and Kenyans who are divided at the moment. This is a major challenge to both prime minister designate and also President Kibaki. So, they are under very great pressure at the moment,” he said.

Kinyanjui said the new government faces a challenge to name a cabinet that Kenyans would feel would fully represent them.

“The second type of pressure is for them to give the various regions positions within the government so that these regions can feel they are represented effectively in the government,” Kinyanjui noted.

He said the prospects of the new cabinet are great.

“I think they are likely to see a fairly well balanced ethnic representation in the cabinet. Cabinet formation in Kenyan throughout the history of independent Kenya has been very much ethnically balanced. But the major concern at the moment is whether the powerful positions would be shared much more equitably between the various major ethnic groups representing ODM, and also representing PNU, and its ally parties. So, this is going to me a major challenge, a question of the powerful cabinet position and how they are going to be shared,” he said.