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 Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 11:12 GMT
Analysis: Kenya's democratic change
A celebrating supporter of Kenya's Narc party
Kenyans are taking a rare path of peaceful transition
The BBC's David Bamford

Kenya is set for political upheaval following the opposition victory in presidential and parliamentary elections.

The defeat of the Kanu party which has governed since independence takes Kenya on a path of democratic change not often used on the continent.

President Moi casts his vote
Daniel arap Moi accepted a multi-party system
The people of Kenya are showing themselves to be the instrument of a historic and rare transition in Africa - the democratic removal of a hitherto-dominant political party, and its replacement with an untested alternative.

Such a phenomenon was almost unheard of before the early 1990s, when the wind of democratic change blew so strongly from eastern Europe and Algeria.

Then, multi-party politics were forced onto numerous African leaders who had ruled through single-party regimes since, or soon after, independence.

Kenya was one of these countries, ending its one-party system in 1992.

But it has taken a further decade for the ruling Kanu establishment to be finally toppled by the appropriately named Rainbow Coalition of opposition forces.

Great expectations

All things are possible in Africa when a strongman leader retires from office or dies, for often the domination of the ruling party is but an extension of his personal rule.

Kenya without Daniel arap Moi has gone the same way as Ghana did without Jerry Rawlings two years ago.

There will now be a time of great expectation in Kenya as euphoria takes over and the new rulers make their inevitable pledge to sweep away the corruption and ethnic bigotry of the past.

But Kenyans should remain wary for a while yet. Africa has many examples where opposition parties, once in power, adopt the negative tendencies of their predecessors.

Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

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