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Some Kenyans Displeased With New Cabinet


Some sections of Kenyans are reportedly displeased with the new cabinet named yesterday (Sunday) by President Mwai Kibaki, saying the new cabinet is bloated. But some political analysts say the new cabinet is a compromise, which should begin addressing the plight of ordinary Kenyans who were adversely affected by the violence that followed the December 27 disputed elections.

The opposition Orange Democratic Movement accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the election, which sparked protests leading to loss of lives and property. Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered a power sharing deal to end the violence. Koigi Wamwere is Kenya’s former deputed information minister. From the capital, Nairobi he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the announcement of the new cabinet is a relief to some Kenyans.

“Largely the reaction has been one of relief because the media had kind of put people into a mood of tension, and high expectation that the cabinet needed be named before they could feel at peace. So, there was the clamor for the immediate formation of the cabinet and because there was fear that if it wasn’t formed soon the relative peace that we have could be endangered. Then people felt relived because now they could say we have cabinet, and peace should come with it,” Wamwere noted.

He said the need for the proper timing of the cabinet must to be overemphasized.

“You see it should have begun yesterday. Some of the problems like the settlement of the internally displaced persons the problems should have been solved by the government even if only it had half a cabinet because the problems are sever, these people are living in camps without food. I thought it’s strange that the government waited until the formation of the whole cabinet before it could do anything about these people. So, my hope and this is the country’s prayer that now that we have the whole cabinet in place, that tomorrow they will start organizing security for these people to be taken back to their lands. And if that is not possible the government would immediately look for alternative land where it can settle them,” he said.

Wamwere said some Kenyans are optimistic about the prospects of the new cabinet although they are also worried whether the new coalition would survive because of ideological differences of its members.

“Kenyans are extremely hopeful, but they are also extremely forgetful. The forces that have formed this grand coalition are the same forces that formed five years ago the NARC (National Rainbow) coalition that collapsed almost immediately after its formation. I know that both sides seem quite eager to do their best to bring the grand coalition together, and probably to make it work. But there are also serious ideological questions or issues that divide the two sides of the grand coalition. For instance there is a question of land, and how it would be settled. Some of the people on the ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) side and who are now in the government …are advocates of ethnic federalism. Are they going to continue pushing for this agenda? If they push for it will the grand coalition leave alone Kenyan survive? These are some of the issues that make me worry when I look at the list of those who are in the cabinet, knowing their ideological positions, I fear for the survival of this grand coalition. But I hope I would be proven wrong,” Wamwere pointed out.