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Kenyans Stay Optimistic About New Cabinet

Kenyans have reportedly welcomed with cautious optimism news that President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader and Prime Minister-designate Raila Odinga have reached an agreement which will lead to the naming of a working cabinet on Sunday. This comes after former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan urged both sides fully to implement the power-sharing deal that effectively ended the December 27 post-election violence.

Some Kenyans criticized the government and the opposition for failing to resolve the political impasse that prevented the naming of a cabinet and is blamed for heightening political tensions in the country. From the capital, Nairobi political analyst Michael Tiampati tells reporter Peter Clottey that some Kenyans are losing confidence in the leaders of the country.

“A majority of Kenyans were hoping for a leaner cabinet in order to save the tax payer the excess of amount of money that has always been pumped into meeting the expenses of dignitaries. So, in one way, despite the kind of sorting out of this issue, that was causing unnecessary anxiety. These issues have left a great deal of Kenyans with a bitter taste in their mouths because they expected maybe a deal could be cobbled together that would ensure that the taxpayers are considered, in terms of forking out monies to meet the expenses of cabinet ministers,” Tiampati noted.

He said some Kenyans would want the monies that would be used for paying ministers to be used for putting the country back on track.

“Secondly, there is also the need for monies for the reconstruction, resettlement, and sorting out of the constitutional issues that are actually imminent, which would definitely design the future of Kenya,” he said.

Tiampati said some Kenyans are not overly enthusiastic about the prospects of the yet to be announced cabinet.

“My take is that most Kenyans, I being one of them, wouldn’t t want to really bank on the success of the cabinet so to speak. Most Kenyans are taking a watch and see attitude. To sit back and watch how things would pan out, because we have been observing how both sides have been acting, and I think people are reacting with guarded optimism,” Tiampati said.

President Mwai Kibaki and Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga, who doubles as the prime minister-designate, announced the agreement after a two-hour meeting over the size and membership of the cabinet, the key part of the power-sharing deal.