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 Friday, 13 December, 2002, 17:19 GMT
Kenya press reflects on Moi's rule
Daniel Arap Moi at ceremony marking 39th anniversary of Kenyan independence
Kenyans wonder about the future after Moi
Excerpts from Kenyan press editorials and commentaries on Daniel arap Moi's planned retirement from the presidency and his impact on the country.

'Confession before forgiveness'

People's Daily: President Moi [on Thursday] presided over what was for certain his last national function... Uncharacteristic of him, the president extended an olive branch to his real or perceived enemies and also asked those he had offended to forgive him...

When President Moi seeks forgiveness, he should be aware that he is addressing the millions of Kenyans who will continue suffering the pestilences emanating from his rule. Forgiveness demands that one confesses his or her sins first."

'Class act'

Daily Nation: Although President Moi is deeply unpopular... he will be missed greatly for a variety of reasons...

In his own way, President Moi always managed to be diplomatic when reading his formal speech in English... He would then launch into the gibberish that has become his stock-in-trade, often in thoroughly broken Swahili, that could not be improved with 50 years of practice... It is in this gibberish that President Moi's talent as a humorist has come to the fore...

President Moi's departure from mainstream public life is likely to trigger a wave of nationwide nostalgia. In many ways, President Moi's was a class act.

Will he really go?

East African Standard: If President Moi did not intend to hand over power, then he would have no business travelling around the world, saying goodbye to some of the leaders who have worked with him in his capacity as the President of Kenya.

Daily Nation: Although he [President Moi] has said before that he will hand over power peacefully to whoever wins, there is still some sense of disbelief. Kenyans want to hear words of hope and optimism rather than hate and ridicule.

Goodbye KANU?

Daily Nation: The coming polls may consign KANU's rule to the museum of history and introduce us to a regime quite different in style and content.

No debate

Daily Nation: Analytical Kenyans are about to give up on the coming elections. Rather than tackle specific policy questions, what we have witnessed is more posturing, spin doctoring and procrastination...

Theoretically, the election is being fought on the platform of economic revival, eradication of poverty, how to tackle unemployment and crime. But we have hardly witnessed a sustained and focused debate on them.

Compared with the past two elections, the run-up to the coming poll has been remarkably peaceful. There have incidents of violence, but on a localised scale and nowhere approaching the magnitude of orchestrated murder and mayhem witnessed previously.

No delays

East African Standard: The hint by the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya that the general election may be postponed if its printer in London does not deliver the ballot papers on schedule is scandalous... You can postpone everything else, including Christmas and New Year, but not the general election.

Daily Nation: Postponing the 27 December general election because of 'logistical reasons' would be really calamitous... Those who set the timetable must surely have known that printers work according to some deadlines.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

12 Dec 02 | Africa
23 Nov 02 | Country profiles
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