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Kenya National Cabinet Meets for First Time

May 23, 2008 04:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff

The newly forged Kenyan cabinet, headed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, is struggling to make decisions as a cohesive unit.

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The newly forged Kenyan cabinet met for the first time on Tuesday, May 15, amid differences between the two major parties involved, led by incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

According to the BBC, in its first major decision the cabinet decided to make Kenya's food security its top priority, in response to an inflation rate of 26.6 percent in April and an anticipated disruption in the crop industry caused by the post-election violence.

The New York Times reported that Kibaki needed more than 10 minutes to read the names of the 94 new ministers and assistant ministers that make up Kenya’s coalition cabinet.

And although the announcement ended “weeks of anxious deadlock," the Times notes that many of the “new, highly paid” cabinet positions are being criticized as “inefficient and wasteful” by human rights groups and trade organizations.

Kenya had been under intense pressure from foreign governments to reach a decision in the wake of December’s post-election violence.

Al-Jazeera reported that some, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathia, believed that Kenya could rule itself more efficiently with a smaller cabinet. There is also a “growing concern that ordinary Kenyans will have to pick up the tab” for the 14 new cabinet positions.

Just one month before Kenya’s post-election chaos and violence, the nation had been “looked up to as an East African bastion of political and economic stability,” according to a Jan. 7 article from findingDulcinea.

Headline Links: Cabinet Meets for the First Time

Related Topic: Violence still a threat to the power-sharing cabinet

Backgound: A 'grand coalition' of political figures after months of division

Opinion & Analysis: Kenya’s leadership overdose

Reference: The new members of parliament

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