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Monday, 29 July, 2002, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Kenya succession race hots up
President Daniel arap Moi
The race is on to succeed President Moi
Uhuru Kenyatta, who appears to be President Daniel arap Moi's chosen heir, now has three cabinet ministers racing with him to be the ruling party's presidential candidate.

Raila Odinga, Katana Ngala and Musalia Mudavadi have said they will fight Mr Kenyatta, son of Kenya's first president, for the Kenya African National Union (Kanu) nomination ahead of the elections due later this year.

We want democracy in Kenya and not dictatorship.

Raila Odinga

Their announcements at the weekend, came as President Moi was telling a Kanu meeting in Eldoret that Mr Kenyatta would be the party's candidate, according to the Daily Nation newspaper.

As Kanu's heavyweights were lining up to slug it out, a group of senior opposition leaders met in Mombasa to launch the Nation Alliance Party of Kenya to fight Kanu in the elections.

The Democratic Party, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford-Kenya), Ford-Asili, the National Party of Kenya, Saba Saba-Asili and the Social Democratic Party joined hands to form the alliance.

Speaking at a public rally in Mombasa to inaugurate the alliance, Mwai Kibaki of the DP, Charity Ngilu of the NPK and Michael Kijana Wamalwa of Ford-Kenya each said they would swallow their pride if one of the others was picked as the alliance's presidential candidate.

Sons fight it out

Cabinet Ministers Raila Odinga and Katana Ngala announced on Sunday that they would stand against Local Government Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. Musalia Mudavadi, the Transport and Communications Minister, announced his candidacy on Saturday.

The Daily Nation said that Kanu now had their most crowded race for the party nomination.

Jomo Kenyatta, first president of Kenya
Will his heir become President Moi's too?

The contest pits Mr Kenyatta, son of Jomo Kenyatta the founding president of Kenya, against Raila Odinga, son of Kenya's first vice-president, Oginga Odinga.

Raila Odinga said: "I have been to different parts of the country and Kanu members have asked me to stand for the presidency. I am now declaring that I will indeed do so."

"It is now up to the party to decide who among us will be the flag-bearer. We want democracy in Kanu and not dictatorship. We want members to be allowed to make crucial decisions, he said at a public meeting in Mombasa on Sunday.

He is due to unveil his plans for his campaign for the candidacy on Monday.

Another tribe's turn

Mr Mudavadi and Mr Ngala both announced their intentions to compete, as senior party members questioned the way in which Uhuru Kenyatta's nomination had arisen.

Another cabinet minister, Shariff Nassir, said Kanu was a democratic party and that members had the right to air their views and aspirations.

The East African Standard newspaper reported him saying: "We have all been yearning for a fair share of the national cake".

The need for fairness in selecting a candidate was stressed by Kanu nominated MP Mariam Matano, who said that it was time for "other tribes" to get the presidency, as both the Kikuyu and Kalenjin have had their turns.

Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga wants the Kanu nomination

President Moi is Kalenjin and both the late Jomo Kenyatta and Uhuru Kenyatta are Kikuyu. Mr Odinga is Luo while Mr Mudavadi is Luhya and Mr Ngala is Giriama.

A Kanu member and former assistant minister Dr Joseph Misoi warned that the party would lose the election if the nominations were not carried out properly.

"If Kanu ignores to follow the constitution, the party will not be able to solve ethnic conflicts or heal the wounds which the choice of the presidential candidate will inflict," he said, according to the Daily Nation.

Lost legitimacy

The Daily Nation reported from the National Alliance Party meeting that alliance officials "refused to answer questions" on it's choice of presidential candidate other than to say there was no problem as the alliance had a constitution that would provide the means of choosing someone.

Mwai Kibaki
Mawi Kibaki of the DP is part of the new alliance

Mwai Kibaki of the DP told the alliance meeting that there was a need for unity within the opposition, as "continued disintegration" had cost the country its economy.

The MP for Dagoretti for the Social Democratic Party, Beth Mugo, also called for unity and said that Kenya had suffered from years of Kanu misrule.

"Kanu has lost the legitimacy to continue governing," she said.

The French news agency, AFP, says that the opposition has failed to defeat President Moi and Kanu in previous elections because of its disunity and inability to field a candidate they all supported.

Noel Mwakugu reporting for Network Africa
"Political heavyweights converge to shape Kenya's direction"
See also:

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