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Monday, 17 February, 2003, 13:16 GMT
Kenyan MPs threaten revolt
Kenyatta International Conference Centre
KICC is a well known building in Nairobi
Opposition members of parliament in Kenya are threatening to disrupt the opening of Parliament on Tuesday if their party officials are not allowed back into their offices.

What business do we have making laws that are not obeyed?

Nick Salat MP
The Kanu politicians were evicted from their party headquarters in the International Kenyatta Conference Centre (KICC) last week, on the orders of President Mwai Kibaki.

The new authorities in Kenya say that Kanu, the former ruling party, moved into the landmark building in 1989 on political grounds and without making due payments.

But a court has ruled that Kanu's eviction was illegal.

Title deeds

A number of Kanu MPs say they are prepared to interrupt Mr Kibaki's address to Parliament on Tuesday if their officials are not allowed to return to their offices on Monday.

Mwai Kibaki
President Kibaki won the December election from a wheelchair

"What business do we have making laws that are not obeyed?" Nick Salat, the MP for Bomet, was quoted as saying by The Daily Nation.

The High Court ruled last Thursday that Kanu officials could reoccupy their offices at KICC, saying the party had "title deeds".

But the locks on Kanu office doors had already been changed, on government orders.

Kanu Vice Chairman Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday accused the government of abusing its power in its efforts to reclaim the building.

Long-running controversy

But the party chairman, former President Daniel arap Moi, has sought to defuse the tension by asking Kenyans to pray for Mr Kibaki, who has been in poor health after a car accident last year.

"For Kenya to develop and remain peaceful, we should all support the sitting government," Mr Moi said.

Uhuru Kenyatta
Kanu's Kenyatta says the government is abusing its power

The controversy surrounding the KICC has opposed Kanu and the opposition - now the ruling National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) - for years.

A minister who oversaw the take-over last week said that the building belonged to the Kenyan people and was being returned to the Kenyan people.

Tourism and Information Minister Raphael Tuju said the centre would be refurbished and used to promote conference tourism.

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.

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11 Feb 03 | Africa
24 Oct 02 | Africa
04 Jan 03 | Country profiles
04 Jan 03 | Country profiles
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