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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 12:37 GMT
Kenya ex-ruling party HQ 'seized'
Kenyatta International Conference Centre
KICC is a well known building in Nairobi
The Kenyan Government has taken over the building which has been the home of the former ruling party Kanu since 1989.

Tourism and Information Minister Raphael Tuju said that Kanu had moved into the International Kenyatta Conference Centre (KICC), a landmark building in Nairobi, on political grounds, and without making due payments.

Members of Kanu recently claimed that the party owned the controversial building.

A lawyer for Kanu, Mutula Kilonzo, said that the take-over was illegal and that the party would take the case to court.

In a separate development, Kanu officials have asked former President Daniel arap Moi to step down as leader of the party.

Presidential green light

The controversy surrounding the KICC has been a contentious issue for years between Kanu and the opposition - now the ruling National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) since the December elections.

Mr Tuju said the centre would now be refurbished and used to promote conference tourism.

The minister said that the building belonged to the Kenyan people and was being returned to the Kenyan people.

President Mwai Kibaki
President Kibaki was behind the naming of the building

"KICC is so important a national landmark, asset and public property, that we may not be held hostage by mistakes of the past," Mr Tuju told KTN television on Tuesday.

"As I'm talking to you now, the building has been taken over... this was discussed with the president, and the president authorised it."

President Mwai Kibaki, who was finance minister when the building was officially opened in 1973, was in fact the one who said that the building would be named after President Jomo Kenyatta as a tribute to his vision for Kenya.

New generation

Meanwhile, Daniel arap Moi and other top Kanu officials have been asked to leave the affairs of the party to a new crop of leaders.

Former Assistant Minister Joseph Misoi said that Kanu must be overhauled it it is to survive its electoral humiliation.

Kanu won 64 parliamentary seats in December, compared to Narc's 125.

Former President Daniel arap Moi
Moi is encouraged to step down as Kanu leader

Last week, former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi resigned from Kanu, as well as his former cabinet colleague, Cyrus Jirongo.

A former assistant minister, John Marirmoi, said that Kanu should not be discouraged by its electoral defeat.

He said that it should reassess where it went wrong, before merging with the now-defunct National Development Party (NDP), formerly led by Cabinet Minister Raila Odinga.

Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

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31 Jan 03 | Africa
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