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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 December, 2003, 13:21 GMT
Uproar over Kenya leader's decree
President Mwai Kibaki (l) and Raila Odinga (r)
Kibaki (l) promised Odinga (r) he would be prime minister
Members of Kenya's ruling coalition have rebelled against the president's plans to scrap its constituent parties.

President Mwai Kibaki said it the coalition is now obsolete and called for grassroots elections to transform it into a single party.

But his political partners say the future of the year-long coalition, cannot be determined by an individual.

The 16 parties united at the behest of Kenyans to end the 24-year-rule of former President Daniel arap Moi.

Political situation

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a main partner in the coalition, challenged Mr Kibaki to first dissolve his Democratic Party.

"We are dismayed that the statement attributed to the president suggests that he can unilaterally decide fundamental issues on behalf of all political parties in the Narc coalition," said LDP general secretary Joseph Kamotho.

He said the LDP would continue with its party work.

The LDP's most prominent figure and Minister for Public Works, Raila Odinga, said the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) was formed by a memorandum of understanding and so could only be dissolved through negotiations.

Mr Kibaki apparently made the statement to end feuding within the coalition but pundits say it has worsened the political situation.

The DP general secretary Joseph Munyao said the president intends to implement the agreement between the parties that they would disband and unite after the 2002 general elections.

Following post-election disappointments, some members of the ruling coalition have fiercely vowed not to disband their parties.

The LDP has been calling for the implementation of a pre-election pact that would introduce the post of an executive prime minister, for Mr Odinga.

The premier's position - according to the party - will enhance power-sharing within the coalition.

But the demands have been strongly opposed by other partners allied to President Kibaki.

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Country profile: Kenya
22 Nov 03  |  Country profiles

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