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Archive for September 16th, 2007

Kenyatta broke the law, says experts

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

By Sunday Standard Team

Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr Uhuru Kenyattas decision to back President Kibakis re-election bid has attracted strong criticism, with legal experts terming it a violation of the Constitution.

Kanu nominated MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, while predicting legal complications, said: “This has never happened anywhere in the world.”

The shadow Attorney-General said the Gatundu South MPs move had technically reverted the country to a single party status.

But Uhuru, who was campaigning for Kibaki in Mwatate constituency, told off critics for demanding his resignation.

Uhuru said his decision to back the President was aimed at ensuring that his party benefited from positions in the next Government.

Speaking at Kishamba Dispensary, in the company of Mwatate MP, Major (rtd) Marsden Madoka, Uhuru turned the heat on his Kanu colleagues who had joined ODM and ODM-Kenya, yet they were asking him to resign. He termed them political warlords out to divide the country.

But lamenting that the countrys official opposition was dead, Mutula said: “You cannot be the Official Leader of the Opposition when you declare support for a sitting President.”

LSK to sue

By openly declaring support for a sitting Government, said Mutula in Mbooni, Uhuru had abdicated his seat.

Political analysts said the move mirrored Kadus defection to Kanu in 1966.

Kadu, the then Official Opposition party led by former President Moi and the late Ronald Ngala among others, handed Uhurus father, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the one-party mantle.

The landmark move led to successive political developments in the country that culminated in the 1982 amendment of the Constitution, making Kenya a one party State.

But even as Uhuru puts on a brave face, political pundits say the Kanu chairman can only flourish if Kibaki is re-elected in the General Election.

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Kenya has said it will push for constitutional amendments to bar Uhuru from supporting the Government.

“This will ensure the leader of the Official Opposition remains in the Opposition and does not support the incumbent,” LSK chairman, Mr Okongo Omogeni said.

The East African Law Society also declared Uhurus move illegal.

The society chairman, Mr Tom Ojienda, said the move undermined the provisions of Section 2(a) of the Constitution that provides for multiparty democracy.

By supporting the Government, said Ojienda, Uhuru had violated the Constitution.

Kanu Vice-chairman, Mr Chris Okemo said Uhurus move was the biggest blow to the opposition, and threatened to leave the party.

“Kanu will soon cease to exist, and I have no business being a member of such an outfit,” said Okemo.

Kanu Secretary-General, Mr William Ruto, termed his chairmans decision as individual, and insisted that it would not change the partys position.

“The move was individual and meant to serve self interests,” Ruto said.

But even as the opposition poured cold water on Uhurus move, Kibakis allies were showering the Gatundu South MP with praises.

Ford-Kenya Chairman, Mr Musikari Kombo, dismissed Uhurus critics saying his party welcomed the move.

In Kericho, the Professionals for a Working Kenya, led by Mr Moses Kuria, termed Uhurus decision as wise and a welcome development.

“Uhuru has exhibited maturity by sacrificing his ambition in favour of Kibaki, who stands higher chances of re-election,” Kuria said.

The Kenya Minority Rights and Development Forum said it was disappointed by Uhuru.

The organisations secretary-general, Mr Ibrahim Woche, said: “Uhurus decision to quit the presidential race is an insult to multi-party democracy.”

Reports by Patrick Beja, Peter Atsiaya, Lucianne Limo, Daniel Nzia, Beatrice Obwocha, Vitalis Kimutai, Anderson Ojuang and Caroline Bett.

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Kibaki to name his party today

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

home5160907.jpgBy Gakuu Mathenge

President Kibaki is today scheduled to go live on radio and television to announce he has picked Party of National Unity as his re-election vehicle.

Sources familiar to the resolve struck by the Presidents insiders revealed the rallying call of the umbrella party for Kibaki-friendly parties will be Tuungane pamoja (Let us unite).

The symbol will be, as is the case with its rival ODM-Kenya, the map of Kenya but in the place of the sliced orange in the middle, there will be the shape of the human heart.

The President will then head to Western Province for a four-day tour to rally support for his Government.

After months and weeks of keeping the nation guessing, President Kibakis team decided on his re-election, eyes turn to Kenyatta International Conference Centre where the President makes the announcement at 3:30 pm.

A Presidential Press Service dispatch to newsrooms in the afternoon invited the Press for a presidential press conference at KICC at 3.30pm.

His formal entry into ring completes the charged three-horse race, before the sun sets down on December.

Also on the starting blocks are Langata MP Raila Odinga and Mwingi North MP Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.

Delicate balancing act

The entry also bears the promise of the bigger war ahead given that on his side are a constellation of 14 parties, two led by Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Simeon Nyachae, who lost to him in the race to State House in 2002.

He can also count on his predecessor, and opponent in the 1992 and 1997 poll, Mr Daniel arap Moi. He also has former Vice- President Prof George Saitoti, Ford-Kenya chairman Mr Musikari Kombo and the Shirikisho trio Cabinet ministers Ali Chirau Mwakwere, Moris Dzorro and Suleiman Shakombo on his side.

He also has the support of high profiled ministers who are all in Narc-Kenya, which now, with all its 60-plus national officials, an affiliate of PNU.

But the cocktail comes with its on challenges; particularly because the glue that holds them onto PNU is the confidence among its leaders they could be the Presidents running mates They also are staking out for plum Cabinet jobs for their cronies and supporters. It is a delicate rope the President has to walk in balancing the competing interests without showing disregard for anyone who has crossed to his side.

Whereas the last election was fought on the platform of anti-corruption and generational change, which lost, this time the President is packaging himself as a national unifying force.

The announcement ends months of speculation and anxiety among his supporters and theatrics by political parties, which have claimed his allegiance even as he studiously kept aloof.

But the President has serious challenges before he can pop the champagne bottles for the second time and final time in less than 12 weeks.

To be President one has to be nominated by a political party that certifies one as a parliamentary and presidential candidate to the Electoral Commission.

To get elected, one needs highly motivated, effective, elaborate and well-organised and focused political machinery, usually organised around a political party.

To be President one has to bag the majority of the total of presidential votes cast, and at least 25 per cent of votes cast in five of eight provinces.

President Kibakis re-election campaign kicks off with all the advantages of incumbency, but lacks one crucial ingredient: his own political party that propagates his vision and development record, but which he hopes to name today.

If he is re-elected on another umbrella party, the country may be looking forward to another five-year cycle of a presidency that is hostage to party chiefs and regional chieftains that keep on exacting their pound of flesh at the slightest excuse.

Kibaki has score well

The administration enjoys a fair score. An impressive economic turn around from negative growth rates in 2003 to above six per cent, unprecedented tax collection levels, free primary education, salary increases for civil servants, improved health care and a revamped Kenya Medical Supplies Agency replacing predators of Mafya House as late former Health minister, Mr Joshua Angatia once said.

Rural electrification has been fast tracked and made more accessible by low income earners, road construction budget more than tripled until the local capacity got chocked by the volume of construction, not to mention the refurbished and re-energised civil service that has won the country two global awards.

President Kibaki acknowledges not everyone sees things his way. There exists a significant section of the populace that thinks his time to go home is long overdue.

Last weekend during inter-denominational prayers at Uhuru Park, Kibaki acknowledged this reality thus: “Kazi tumefanya, aliye na macho ameona, lakini yule hataki hatuwezi kumulazimisha” (We have achieved a lot, but we cannot force those who chose not to see to acknowledge the achievements)

Kibaki often reminds his audiences that it is their taxes that have driven what his Government has done. Those supporting his bid for a second term are urging him to take charge of his campaign and sell his achievements to the voters directly.

Though some say this self-effacement disguises a thick skin that has weathered many a political storm, his hands-off style, allowing his ministers and sidekicks too much room, has been cited as the reason his achievements have not translated into political goodwill and support.

Unflattering appraisal

For instance, last weekend, the President had to endure an unflattering appraisal from youthful Wajir West MP, Mr Ahmed Khalif, who accused him of “betraying” the people of Wajir West even after they voted for Narc. He claimed he instead rewarded Kanu opponents who voted against him.

“You have no votes here in Wajir, your Excellency,” Khalif told the President, amid applause from the crowd. Khalifs father, former Labour minister, the late Ahmed Khalif, who died in the Busia plane crash in 2003, was the only MP elected on a Narc ticket in 2002.

Although Khalifs language did not go down well with some of those present feeling it was unnecessarily caustic. But that part of the crowd applauded means his message resonated.

It was an indication the Presidents men on the ground, were not with the people. This is why we are saying all candidates must be subjected to nomination to test their popularity. We should not take the risk of direct nominations,” said Kiunjuri.

Regional Development Assistant minister, Mr Ali Wario, who is also the an influential voice among the pastoralists had similar sentiments:

“There is an urgent need to harmonise the presidential campaign and the various groups involved,” he said.

The Bura MP and chair of the Parliamentary Pastoralist Group, said although Kibakis administration had achieved much, the message was being lost in the cacophony of voices coming from his corner.

North Eastern Province has indicated it may take much more than goodies to win a second term.

The President has visited North Eastern three times in the last five years, has warmed up to a region that voted against him almost to the last man in 2002, appointed Wajir Central MP Mr Mahmud Mohamed (Kanu) Cabinet minister, and several MPs from the region appointed assistant ministers besides doling out other top civil service jobs.

No counter propaganda

President Kibaki has spoilt a few other regions with more and high profile goodies than the NEP.

Prior to his visit last week, the President had just granted the region seven new districts, elevating nearly every constituency to a district, raising NEP districts from four to 11 last June.

Last week, the Head of State converted Wajir Military Airport, built by Israeli and Americans in the 1970s into a commercial civilian airport. It is expected to greatly market livestock products and civilian transport.

Despite all these and many more, the region seems reluctant to welcome Kibaki and his Government, and the mood seems to have changed little since the 2005 Referendum when NEP overwhelmingly voted against the proposed Constitution, which the Government supported.

Asked why the region seemed hostile, a retired senior civil servant and one of the aspiring parliamentary candidates for Dujis, Mr Ali Korane says the Government has neglected to counter a five-year opposition propaganda that has painted the Government in extreme ethnic colours.

“The administration was also painted as anti-Islam during the referendum campaigns and this has been allowed to stick. There has never been an attempt to counter this projection,” he says.

The hard face of Internal Security minister, Mr John Michuki, has also not helped, a region long used to dealing with the OP for prompt resolution of all manner of situations.

“The current Office of the President, tends to scare people away than inspire a sense of protection. OP has historically been the centre of Government, acting as the enforcement arm. This is no longer the case,” said Korane.

The politics of the region are personality and clan based, and Korane feels civil service and technocrats alone cannot mobilise political support.

He called on the president and his handlers to consult local leaders before taking decisions.

No one in-charge of campaign

Discordant voices coming from the Presidents corner have also had the effect of confusing supporters as to who is in charge of his re-election campaign. A proliferation of freelance initiatives claiming the presidential re-election campaign mandate have cropped up, but some of whom have been accused of alienating the President from his supporters.

Most vilified has been the three-tier structure that comprises Advisory Council as the apex, a Presidential Elections Board comprising parastatal technocrats in the middle and a secretariat at the bottom comprising professional foot soldiers.

The group was crafted by a closely-knit group of long time allies of the President, whom politicians have accused of shielding the Head of State.

“For a long time this group has sidelined politicians and political parties. We are telling them a president is put in office by voters and only politicians know where the voters are,” said a politician.

“Kibaki needs to take charge of his campaign. There are too many centres of power and one does not know whom to deal with,” said Bomet MP, Mr Nick Salat, who was among MPs from Rift Valley who pledged support for Kibakis re-election last week.

Besides dispelling the notion he is a prisoner of any clique, class or interest groups, Kibaki has to pacify political parties who are also fighting for space in his court.

Democratic Party Secretary General, Mr George Nyamweya, complained that Narc-Kenya was making impossible demands that it would only join the grand coalition umbrella party only if DP was kept out.

Nevertheless, DP was not invited to the Naivasha meeting last week that brought together Ford-Kenya, Kanu, Ford-People and Narc-Kenya leaders to discuss the Kibaki re-election coalition.

Narc-Kenya views DP as a nuisance waiting in the wings to harvest from anticipated falling out after the nominations.

The entry of Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and his Kanu brigade, who have said fielding parliamentary and civic candidates in all constituencies and wards was not negotiable, complicates things further for Narc-Kenya, a party that is still struggling to shed the image of being in the stranglehold of sitting MPs.

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Gidi heights: UNEP musician wins social responsibility award

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Posted by Ndebele Okoth

Jospeh Ogdi Oyoo, known as Gidi Gidi on Kenyas music scene, was welcomed with cheers at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi on Monday. Over the weekend, the 28-year-old web developer, who works in the Internet Unit/Division of Communications and Public Information (DCPI), won the Social Responsibility Award at the Kisima Awards ceremony, East Africas annual music-biz bash. Gidis song Wanaume Ibilisi (“Some men are satanic,” in Kiswahili) is a powerful condemnation of sexual offences and rape.

Men lack respect, This behaviour of rape, Shows how we can be satanic, goes the song, which was written last year and performedat the UN Kenya person of the year 2006 ceremony in honour ofone of Kenya’s Members of Parliament, Ms. Njoki Ndungu, who actively fought for the adoption of Kenya’s Sexual Offences Act.I offered her the award because she has been very active.

Thanks to her efforts, the bill was passed, in spite of the opposition of many male MPs, said a happy Gidi. The song, voted by listeners on the internet and by text message (SMS) as the best in its category, faced tough competition from other songs about HIV/AIDSand corruption. This is a sign that Kenyan musicians should come up with music that informs, educates, initiates positive behavior in society and raises awareness, added Gidi.Gidi is not a newcomer on the music scene. With 10 year’s musical experience under his belt, three albums, and several Kisima awards, his name features regularly in the charts.

When they hear his rhythm, Kenyans can hit the dance floor but also get a chance to reflect on serious issues at the same time.His winning song, with a hit video clip featuring Mrs. Ndungu herself, has not yet been released commercially. Its not my intention to make money out of it, but to promote awareness, Gidi insists. Now that it has been recognized by the East African music world, Gidi says hes willing to release it on the market as long as the funds go to a good cause.
MajiMaji, Prof Adams Solomon, a Kenyan International Artist living in Toronto, Canada, GidiGidi, Rev Okoth Otura and Deborah Cooper Otura at Toronto down town 2006 during their tour in Canada.

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We shall speak words of faith to the mountain and it will tumble down

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Commentary by Nyatigi

There is absolutely no reason for anyone with a clear conscience to thumb his/her chest as yet. The day Mr Uhuru decided to abscond from being an official leader of the opposition was a grim day for the road to democracy in Kenya. It brought back those unpleasant memories of yesteryears characterised by one party system of authoritarian rule.

The period when the spirit of democracy was nearly none existence; and instead, it was a period characterised with lack of equity coupled with propagation of chauvinistic tendencies. These are the years when cronies and toadies had field days and everything was carried out through acclamation. This move by Uhuru Kenyatta will certainly go down as the greatest betrayal in history.

The Kenyans have to act in haste to curtail this progression towards the dark days. They must come out in one accord irrespective of geopolitical location and creed to usher change in and to vote out status quo with its erstwhile retrogressive traits. It is our prayer that the spirit of equity will prevail come the December election. It is our prayer that nepotism, chauvinism and cronyism will be things of the past come January next year.

Nobody has been elected yet, so do not blow your trumpets you proponents of status quo. The agents of change are yet to go round the wall of Jericho seven times in order to effect an imminent change. We shall speak words of faith to the mountain and it will tumble down. We are sanguine that the spirit of equity will subjugate the spirit of status quo and its revolting traits.

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Museveni and EA federation

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Posted by Ham Mukasa
www.hammukasafoundation.com
www.hgmconsult.com

Museveni hanging on as EA federation wobbles

By Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi

Aides to President Yoweri Museveni say he has put more wood into the fire, cooking his ambitions to run for office again in 2011 as an East African Federation Presidency is looking increasingly bleak.

Museveni “returned to his roots” launching a campaign to popularise NRM’s Bonna Bagagawale ( prosperity for all) in Luwero, where he waged his bush war. Luwero is politically symbolic.

When in 2005, the President who has been running Uganda for over 21 years, sought a third term, a feat that also required the abolition of presidential term limits from the Uganda constitution, he started off campaigning in Luwero.

The President is unlikely, as in the past, to announce his availability to run again. A source in his office who has been in the two of his re-election campaigns (2001/6), said on Monday “there is no doubt that we will seek a fourth term”.

In several interviews with his political staff, Inside Politics was told that the President, whose popularity has taken a nose dive from its highs in 1996, is in a process of gauging his support.
STRATEGIST: Mr Museveni is unlikely to announce that he is willing to run for presidency again.

One of the problems facing the President (he turns 64 on September 14), is that an exit plan to a higher political office, as East Africa’s first federation President, is shaky with resistance from Dar-es- salaam. Tanzania wants East Africa to rethink the fast-tracking a political federation.

“If Arusha had worked out, then he would not have been interest in Uganda, he would plan to get someone to replace him here as he watches from above. That would have provided him a soft landing, but now it has been scuttled and he has to re-think,” said a source knowledgeable with the strategy in the Museveni camp.

That disappointment, sources confirm, has landed Ugandan Assistant Secretary General, Beatrice Kiraso, in trouble, for failing to lobby Tanzanian support for a political federation.

A senior political strategist the President hired recently but preferred anonymity because he is not allowed to disclose his plans, confirmed that the changing winds in East Africa were fanning the renewed attempt to create a momentum to re-elect Museveni in the next race.
Succession battles “He is catching up, basically I think he is just keeping in touch with the people; he doesn’t want to be seen as someone who only comes when there is an election. We need to talk to people and also capitalise on the split opposition, especially the wrangles between FDC and DP,” this source added.

The President has no credible challengers within his party while
contenders who have expressed ambitions have been caught in succession battles like the one between NRM Secretary General Amama Mbabazi and bush war veteran Maj. Gen Kahinda Otafiire.

Presidential Assistant on political affairs Moses Byaruhanga, another key strategist who has served the President in his re-election in the past two races, dismissed what he said was “speculation” about the President’s political future.

He also refused, when engaged, to draw lessons from similar “Luwero” tours that previously shaped the political calendar ahead of the next elections describing the tours as “normal”.

“As far as 2011 is concerned, all political parties will select their candidates,” Byaruhanga insists.

None the less, the President’s strategy is now familiar. During one of the rallies in Luwero, Museveni told residents that historical NRM members must accept and embrace new comers into the party. Observers quickly noted that he was referring to what is now seen as “a purge” of his party of potential rivals.

Corruption-related allegations have tripped historicals Jim Muhwezi, Otafiire and others. More historicals may yet be discredited. Muhwezi and Otafiire say it’s politics not the fight against graft which is behind their mis-fortunes. However, if Museveni does stay on, his hopes of becoming leader of East Africa are likely to become even more difficult.

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I am sure there is no kenyan who wants to see any elements or remains of Moi in Kenyan Government

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Commentary by: Paul KadushiIam a Tanzania but i cant wait for Raila to win because he is the best defition for changes in Kenya, and by Uhuru joining Kibaki i think it is rather a last nail in Mwai Kibaki leaderships Coffin.

I am sure there is no kenyan who wants to see any elements or remains of Moi in Kenyan Government. Hence for Moi Campaigning for Kibaki and for Uhuru joining Kibaki then Mois hands will still be in Kenyan Government and that is is last thing Kenyans will go for

In all candidates, there is no one to match Raila, for him alone has the guts to prosecute all leaders who have been looting taxpayers money since the times of Moi to the present.

Paul T. Kadushi
+255784497707
P.O. Box 31143
Dar es Salaam.

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Uhuru’s entry causes anxiety in Kibaki’s camp – Kanu will strenghten Kibaki’s re-election plan

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Story by LUCAS BARASA AND MUCHEMI WACHIRA
Publication Date: 9/15/2007

Leader of Official Opposition Uhuru Kenyattas move to support President Kibakis re-election has caused a stir among parties pushing for the Head of States re-election bid.

UHURU

A series of meetings were called in an attempt to reach a compromise on the name of the umbrella party that will bring together the Kibaki-friendly parties.

Soon after Mr Kenyatta announced his decision to support President Kibakis re-election on Thursday, he left for State House, Nairobi, to meet the President.

Mr Kenyattas decision was expected to boost the Presidents campaign kitty as his resources might now be directed to ensuring that President Kibaki wins a second term.

But his move could make some of leaders in the Presidents campaign team to lose control of the enormous resources that will be used to mount a national campaign.

Contributes to kitty

Analysts said the Kanu chairman would want to have a say on how the resources will be used if he contributes to the kitty and this might elbow out some of the Presidents close friends.

The day that Mr Kenyatta announced his decision to support President Kibaki was the same day that Kibaki-friendly parties were planning to unveil their umbrella party. However, their efforts were thrown into disarray.

We had to postpone it (naming of the coalition party), Science and Technology minister Noah Wekesa told a press conference yesterday. Dr Wekesa has been coordinating talks between leaders of 10 political parties that have been trying to form a coalition to sponsor President Kibaki who will be defending his seat for a second and final term.

On Thursday, Dr Wekesa and his group agreed to meet on Monday next week but they had to reschedule the meeting to yesterday following what sources said was a directive from the President.

This was after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday which endorsed the Party of National Unity as the vehicle that President Kibaki will use to defend his seat.

The endorsement came just two days after the Daily Nation exclusively reported that the Presidents supporters had registered the PNU as his re-election vehicle. The party was registered on August 23.

According to sources familiar with State House issues, the Cabinet meeting proposed that the President make his party of choice public within the week probably by tomorrow.

And after the Cabinet meeting, President Kibaki headed for another he had convened for Kanu officials led by Mr Kenyatta.

After the meeting with the President, members of the Cabinet most of whom are in Narc Kenya quickly organised another meeting for the flower party to discuss how it could work with Kanu and other Kibaki-friendly parties.

Narc-Kenya chief-whip Jayne Kihara said: We met to define how we can unite with Kanu, Ford-People, Ford-Kenya, Mazingira and anybody else who would like to come with us. We agreed we are going into a coalition. We managed to convince those who were against coalition to support us, she said.

Asked about reports that some members were unhappy with Mr Kenyattas entry, fearing it could interfere with their chances of succeeding the President in 2012, Ms Kihara we need to pass this bridge (this years elections) first.

Yesterday, Dr Wekesa and his group who met at the Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi said: We have met today to strategise on what part we will play in coordinating activities of the new coalition. And we are ready to work with any party willing to join the coalition.

He added: The President has decided to announce the party himself.

Differences over nomination of candidates were blamed for delaying the unveiling of President Kibakis re-election vehicle.

Some parties preferred to field their own candidates while others felt that PNU should be the sole nominating organ as happened with Narc in 2002.

Most Narc Kenya MPs from Mount Kenya region and Nairobi are pushing for a joint nomination, where every aspiring candidate will be subjected to primaries by the umbrella party.

Parties supporting the President will be facing the two Orange parties ODM and ODM-Kenya. Langata MP Raila Odinga is the ODM presidential candidate while Mwingi North MP Kalonzo Musyoka is the ODM-K nominee.

Suggestions had earlier been made at a meeting that parties opposing a joint nomination be sidelined from the coalition. But the meeting, which the Presidents allies held on Wednesday, noted that several members of the new coalition could opt out, thereby weakening PNU and giving ODM and ODM-K an advantage.

Sources said the Kibaki-friendly parties were casting their net wide and were looking into ways of reaching out to Mr Musyoka to also join the Heads of States re-election campaign team to weaken the Opposition.

Mr Kenyatta alluded to efforts to woo Mr Musyoka to President Kibakis side when he said on Thursday that his party Kanu will not only reach out to President Kibaki and government friendly parties but also to ODM Kenya.

But addressing 40 parliamentary aspirants at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi yesterday, Mr Musyoka said he had nothing to do with the Government and would not join President Kibaki.

I will not negotiate with President Kibaki. We can only meet at the ballot box, Mr Musyoka said.

He however said he was willing to have talks with Mr Kenyatta and that he was targeting support of Kanu members from Western, Rift Valley, Coast, Eastern and North Eastern who had been abandoned by Mr Kenyatta and other leaders who had joined ODM.

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Morocco : Majority parliamentary group rejects alliance with Islamists in new gov’t

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

Rabat (Morocco) The Istiqlal party (Independence), which won the 7 September legislative polls in Morocco, brushed aside any alliance with the Justice and Development party (PJD, Islamist) in the next government, APA learnt Saturday.

“Don’t expect to see Istiqlal and PJD in the same government,” said the secretary-general of Istiqlal, Abbas El Fassi, in an interview with the Moroccan weekly magazine “La vie Eco”, published Friday.

Explaining this stance, Abbas El Fassi said the PJD “went too far” by declaring after the elections in Morocco “there is the PJD, and the other parties are rotten”.

Reaffirming the commitment of the party to “the current government majority”, the Istiqlal leader stressed that Morocco needs a government made up of 25 departments, and junior ministers who belong to the same party as their supervising ministers.

The current Moroccan government, headed by technocrat Driss Jettou, is composed of 33 ministers from five political parties which are Istiqlal, USFP, PPS, the Popular Movement (MP) and the National Independent Rally (RNI) and others are without political affiliation.

Since 1992, Istiqlal (nationalist rightwing) is in alliance with two socio-democrat parties, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and the Progress and Socialism Party (PPS) within the framework of a “democratic coalition”.

Last Thursday, King Mohammed VI of Morocco received the leaders of the first six political parties in the last legislative polls, within the framework of negotiations to appoint the future Prime Minister.

The King reasserted “his deep attachment to the advisory and participative approach, engaged with the living forces of Moroccan people – and especially party leaders.”

Under the Constitution, the King names the Prime Minister who in turn proposes other members of his government.

According to final results of the Moroccan polls, Istiqlal won 52 seats, followed by PJD with 46 seats. MP is third with 41 seats. The RNI is fourth with 39 seats followed by the USFP which scored 38 seats and the Constitutional Union (CPU, liberal opposition) with 27 seats.

Thirty three parties were contesting the 325 seats in the House of Representatives (Lower House).

The participation rate in these elections, organized according to the largest remainder system, did not exceed 37 percent out of some 15.6 million registered voters.

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