New Kenyan Prime Minister Sworn In

April 17, 2008 03:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga was sworn in as prime minister, solidifying the recent power-sharing deal between his and President Mwai Kibaki’s parties.

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According to the BBC, Odinga initially wanted a 26-member cabinet, not the new 92-member administration demanded by President Kibaki. Criticized by some for being too large, the parliament is slated to cost $13 million per year, or enough to build around 50 new schools in Kenya.

The government faces an early challenge in dealing with the violent Mungiki gang, which has been terrorizing Nairobi since two relatives of its leadership were killed last week. ''I want to tell our brothers the Mungiki we shall talk to them. We should speak together as Kenyans,” said Kibaki at the swearing in ceremony.

MSNBC reported on April 15, 2008, that during a transportation boycott members of Mungiki had circulated a leaflet among Nairobi bus drivers. It read, “Today we held a peaceful demonstration, but tomorrow we will be sabotaging and beheading all drivers, conductors and passengers who will rebel against our orders."

After its flawed December 2007 elections, Kenya became entrenched in violent riots. Despite pre-election polling indicating Odinga as the favorite—his success was attributed to widespread discontent with Kibakis’s alleged corruption—Kibaki was declared president.

Amid the violence that followed, New York Times blogger Josh Ruxin wrote that Kenya’s democracy was itself endangered by the election and its aftermath. “What we’re seeing here is not genocide, it is the disenfranchised acting out in the only way they can now that democratic elections have been stolen from them,” Ruxin said.

Headline Links: Odinga takes office

Related Topics: The Mungiki gang fallout

Background: Months of chaos in Kenya

Opinion & Analysis: A democracy on thin ice


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