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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Kenyan ex-ruling party says sorry
Kenyan opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta
Mr Kenyatta says guilt is individual and not collective
Kenya's former ruling party leader has called on its members to apologise for the wrongs committed during its almost four decades in power.

Uhuru Kenyatta, acting chairman of Kenya African National Union (Kanu) and son of Kenya's first president, said they needed to wipe the slate clean.

Kanu lost power in 2002, but is hoping to capitalise on a growing sense of disillusionment with the government.

Mr Kenyatta noted a long list of acts Kanu could be held responsible for.

These included the repression of opposition activists, the lack of government accountability and politically-motivated tribal clashes.

'Seek forgiveness'

"I offer my most sincere apology to all Kenyans for mistakes made during the tenure of our party and call upon our members to join in this apology," Mr Kenyatta said to the applause of party members at a party meeting in the capital Nairobi.

For the perpetual succession of our party we need to wipe the slate clean and start afresh
Kanu leader Uhuru Kenyatta

He did not refer to former president Daniel arap Moi or any other senior figures by name, but said guilt is always individual and not collective.

"I therefore, call upon all individuals - present or past... responsible for those acts and omissions which so much aggrieved Kenyans to publicly own up, offer their individual apologies and seek forgiveness from the people of Kenya," he said.

Kanu was Kenya's only legal political party for much of the 1980s until political unrest and international pressure led to the restoration of multiparty political in the early 1990s.

Many leading politicians left Kanu before the last elections, which led to a landslide victory in 2002 for President Mwai Kibaki, who had also served under former President Moi.

President Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) promised to crackdown on widespread corruption and introduce a constitution within 100 days.

However, the government has recently come in for criticism from the international community for its record on corruption and the constitution was delayed for a second time in June.

Several leading members of Kanu are included in President Kibaki's government of national unity.

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30 Jun 04  |  Africa
Moi resigns as party chairman
11 Sep 03  |  Africa
Profile: Uhuru Kenyatta
14 Oct 02  |  Africa
Country profile: Kenya
18 Jun 04  |  Country profiles


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