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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Kenya reshuffle brings in opposition
Muslim leader Sheikh Khalid Balala and Raila Odinga
The government has imprisoned Raila Odinga (right) three times
President Daniel arap Moi has reshuffled his cabinet, appointing opposition party leader Raila Odinga as energy minister.

This is the first coalition government in Kenya's history.

The National Development Party leader has been detained three times by President Moi's government in the past.

Another opposition member, Adhu Owiti, will head the planning ministry.

Some analysts are saying that President Moi is trying to shore up his support in parliament as the opposition Democratic Party has been threatening to block crucial bills demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

The NDP has been cooperating with Kanu, the ruling party, and there has been talk of a merger ahead of elections due by the end of 2002.

Motives

BBC correspondent in Nairobi Ishbel Matheson says support for Kanu, which has long dominated Kenya's political landscape, is dwindling.

Voting in Kenya is still largely split along ethnic lines, and with Mr Odinga coming from the Luo ethnic group, one of Kenya's biggest tribes, President Moi may calculate that with the support of the Luos his party may be able to scrape back into power.

President Moi
President Moi: One eye on 2002
However, Mr Odinga has made no secret of the fact that he would like Kenya's top job for himself.

He may not endorse any pre-election deal which does not guarantee him the presidency.

Raila Odinga is the son of Oginga Odinga, Kenya's first vice-president under Jomo Kenyatta. Oginga Odinga challenged Mr Moi for the presidency in 1992.

All change

Two other NDP members have been named as assistant ministers in Mr Moi's government.

George Saitoti has kept the vice-presidency, but Bonaya Godana has been dropped as foreign minister - Christopher Obure, formerly the agriculture minister, has taken his place.

Francis Nyenze has been moved from the environment ministry to head the sports ministry. Henry Kosgey, who was science and technology minister, is now education minister.

Kanu has now gone online, becoming the second political party in Kenya to get its own internet site.

The official Kanu website was launched at a brief ceremony at the party headquarters in Nairobi.

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See also:

11 Jun 01 | Africa
President Moi's new cabinet
27 Nov 00 | Africa
Tackling Kenya's woes
29 Dec 97 | Kenyan elections
Kenya: candidates and issues
09 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Kenya
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