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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Kenyan papers agonise over political crisis
Uhuru Kenyatta
Kenyatta's candidacy has fuelled a fierce political row
The Kenyan press has been anxiously monitoring the crisis triggered by the ruling Kanu party's decision to endorse Uhuru Kenyatta as its candidate in December's presidential election.

President Daniel arap Moi's decision to give his personal backing to Mr Kenyatta - the son of the country's founding president - has triggered a political row in Kenya and led to the resignation of six government ministers.

"History seems to be repeating itself as the son of the founding president, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta is all set to take over the mantle of the party his father led before his peaceful death in 1978," the Kenya Times writes.

Test of democracy

The leading independent daily The Nation proclaims the events surrounding Mr Kenyatta's nomination as "the greatest test for democracy since the advent of multipartyism a decade ago".

The paper avoids taking sides, urging all those involved to show restraint.

Whatever the political battles, Kenya must always remain united

The Standard

"While we are not at liberty to comment one way or the other on the merits or demerits of what is essentially a break-up of the party that has ruled this country since independence, we have a duty to warn against what might possibly happen should tempers flare up."

"It is possible for disagreements to culminate in violence," it warns.

The Nation is anxious to see the authorities do their utmost to ensure that the election is conducted in a peaceful manner.

"It is hoped that adequate measures have been put in place to ensure every person... will be safe and secure regardless of his or her political persuasion. And it will never do for the law enforcers to favour one faction or party over the other, for to do so as blatantly as they have been doing in the past might be the spark that will set off a conflagration."

The pro-government daily The Standard agrees the event marks a landmark development, and cautions against a worsening of the split.

"Thanks to the Uhuru project, the political landscape will never be the same again," it proclaims.

"Whatever the political battles, however, Kenya must always remain united."

Political turmoil

The independent weekly The East African said the main thing was to end Kanu's grip on power.

"The real challenge - removing Kanu from power - lies ahead, irrespective of whether a united opposition platform comes to pass this week, as widely expected.

But it doubted whether this could be easily achieved.

President Moi
President Moi would prefer Kenyatta as his successor

"The challenge is quite awesome in view of the resources - state and otherwise - that the ruling party will assemble to push through its man..."

"The unfortunate thing that has come out from a decade of multipartyism in Kenya is that politicians do not just fail to agree on national issues, they part company and leave platforms for future engagements ruined."

The pro-opposition People's Daily accuses the government of engineering political violence in order to scare the voters.

"[There is the] fear that the violence that has left several people either dead or seriously injured ... has been precipitated by police looking the other side or provoking the violence to drive some point home..."

The paper worries that the current political turmoil will scare off investors.

"Increasing violence in the run-up to the elections is eroding the confidence of both domestic and foreign investors..."

It urges the government to act in order to prevent the crisis from escalating.

"The country's security forces need to contain the violence completely as the country is now hanging on a thin string," the paper warns.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down




Is Kenyatta the right man to replace Moi?



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14 Oct 02 | Africa
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