Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

No Kenya crisis, says President Mwai Kibaki

Kenya President Mwai Kibaki (L) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Kenya is polarised by conflicting loyalties to the two leaders

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki says his country is not in crisis, despite repeated reports of a bitter power struggle among the nation's elite.

Mr Kibaki acknowledged there had been a "heated debate" but said Kenyans should not be worried.

The president formed a unity government in 2008 with his rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to help stop deadly riots sparked by a disputed election.

On Sunday, the pair disagreed over the suspension of two ministers.

Mr Odinga announced the suspension of the officials, who are suspected of corruption.

I wish to assure Kenyans there is no crisis
Mwai Kibaki
Kenyan President

But Mr Kibaki reversed the decision hours later, throwing the government into chaos and leaving the public confused as to who was running the country.

"Over the last few days, there has been heated debate about the cohesion of the Grand Coalition government," Mr Kibaki said in a statement.

"In that regard, I wish to assure Kenyans that there is no crisis."

Mr Odinga had called on former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to intervene in the power struggle.

But in a statement released earlier, Mr Annan made no mention of visiting Kenya and simply called for both sides to resolve their differences.

A spokesman for Mr Odinga later said the prime minister and president had spoken over the phone and would meet for talks on Sunday.

The country was engulfed in fighting between supporters of the two men after a presidential election in late 2007.

Mr Odinga's supporters claimed he had been cheated out of victory by Mr Kibaki.

Some 1,300 people died in weeks of violence and tens of thousands were displaced.

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