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Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 15:59 GMT
Kenya's ruling party suspends rebel MPs
Kenyan Parliament building
Parliament has been the scene of a number of Kanu defeats this year
Kenya's ruling party has suspended a handful of dissident members of parliament, including the influential former finance minister Simeon Nyachae.

The Kenya Africa National Union (Kanu) has been angered at losing a number of critical parliamentary votes this year, with some members of the party voting against Kanu.

Suspended
Former Finance Minister Simeon Nyachae
Jimmy Angwenyi
Kipkalya Kones
Anthony Kimeto
Cyrus Jirongo
The party's Governing Council took the decision at an unusual meeting chaired by President Daniel arap Moi on Wednesday.

The council also empowered Mr Moi to seek a merger between Kanu and the National Development Party (NDP), which has supported the government in an informal cooperation agreement this year.

It is not clear if the NDP, led by Raila Odinga, wants to merge with Kanu; it has suggested a coalition government.

Succession battle?

The suspended MPs include two former government ministers, Mr Nyachae and Kiokalya Kones.

Mr Nyachae has said he will run for president when Mr Moi's term ends in 2002, and there has been speculation that the suspension is related to the struggle to succeed the 76-year-old Mr Moi.

President Daniel arap Moi
Mr Moi is due to go in 2002
The suspension means the five MPs cannot conduct party business.

A statement from the Kanu Governing Council made it clear that dissent would not be tolerated.

"The council noted with concern that some of the Kanu MPs have not been steadfast in promoting government policies. The practice of criticising the government should stop immediately," it warned.

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See also:

27 Nov 00 | Africa
Tackling Kenya's woes
18 Oct 00 | Africa
Kenya plans prison probe
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