Juma Kwayera

Juma Kwayera

    The dispute over the division of ministerial portfolios in Kenya's new coalition Cabinet was resolved this week when President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga each made slight concessions in the face of gathering frustration in the country. The Mail & Guardian profiles some of the key ministers.

    The quest for a permanent political settlement in Kenya ran into trouble again this week with the opposition Orange Democratic Movement announcing that it is pulling out of talks on the formation of a coalition government. Talks on the composition of a coalition cabinet have been dragging on for a month.

    A widening rift around the size and structure of a coalition government in which powers and responsibilities will be shared between President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity and Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement may be edging the country close to a renewed outbreak of political violence.

    The independent review committee constituted to investigate alleged fraud during Kenya's December presidential polls has had to delay its investigations until Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and prime minister designate Raila Odinga agree on the composition of a coalition government.

    A quiet rebellion and near-total collapse of the chain of command has exposed Kenya's police force as incapable of dealing with the growing national crisis in the country, amid growing fears that it has also been infiltrated by the outlawed pro- government Mungiki sect.

    Violence rocked Kenya for the third week running as the police cracked down on opposition protesters during a three-day countrywide civil disobedience campaign to press for the reversal of the controversial re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. While Nairobi remained mostly calm, chaos besieged opposition strongholds in western Kenya and along the coast.

    Newly re-elected Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki is coming under increased criticism for the manner in which he has handled the growing post-election mayhem in the country. The barrage of criticism intensified following a public statement by the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, Samuel Kivuitu, in which he indicated that the government had forced him to prematurely declare Kibaki the winner of the December 27 poll.

    Traditionally regarded as a Western fad, regularly conducted opinion polls have acquired phenomenal significance in Kenya, as the top two presidential candidates -- President Mwai Kibaki and his main opposition challenger Raila Odinga -- head for what looks like a photo-finish in the election on December 27.

    If opinion polls are to be believed Raila Amolo Odinga is poised to become Kenya's fourth president after the December 27 general election. Born in 1945, Odinga went to school in Nyanza province. He holds a master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Otto von Guericke University in the former East Germany.

    Scenes of bloodshed and outright fraud characterised primary elections for the three main political parties, one of which will form the next government in Kenya after the general election set for December 27. The Party of National Unity (PNU), the Orange Democracy Movement and Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya, the platforms on which President Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka are gunning for the presidency, held primaries last weekend.