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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 15:51 GMT
Kibaki opens parliament
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki
Kibaki is hoping to turn around Kenya's struggling economy

New Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has opened parliament with a renewed pledge to rid the country's institutions of corruption and to revitalise the economy.

President Kibaki took over as president after elections in December, when his National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) ended nearly four decades of rule by Kanu, the Kenya African National Union.

Parliament was due to restart in January, but the opening was delayed because President Kibaki is still recovering from injuries he suffered in a car accident during the election campaign.

Walking with a stick

President Kibaki has made few public appearances since he left hospital last month and many Kenyans who were waiting outside parliament for him to arrive were more interested in how he looked than in the policies he was about to present.

They would have been relieved to see the president walk into parliament, although still with the aid of a stick.

The 71-year-old president, however, remained seated to deliver his speech, which opened Kenya's ninth parliament.

In it he repeated the pledges he made during his inauguration speech: to deal with corruption and revitalise Kenya's stagnant economy.

John Githongo
John Githongo has been appointed as Kenya's anti-corruption czar

He said good governance was a key objective of his government and that it would create the right environment to unlock the potential of the Kenyan people.

The Kanu administration ousted from power last December was widely seen as corrupt and has been accused of land-grabbing and diverting public funds for private use.

Financial institutions such as the IMF, which suspended loans to Kenya, have promised to renew lending if President Kibaki's new government passes anti-corruption legislation.

Kenyans have enormous hopes that the new government will reduce poverty and create desperately needed jobs.

Speaker of Parliament Francis Ole Kaparo told the MPs that they must not dampen the people's spirit.

Kenyans choose a new president

Key stories

Inauguration day

Moi steps down

Background

INTERACTIVE GUIDE

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TALKING POINT
See also:

17 Feb 03 | Africa
13 Feb 03 | Business
13 Feb 03 | Africa
30 Dec 02 | Africa
31 Jan 03 | Africa
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