Odinga-Kibaki clash rekindles old feuds

Kenya police said on Tuesday they were beefing up security in the country’s western region fearing protests against Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s order to suspended a minister from the area.

Odinga at the weekend suspended Agriculture Minister William Ruto—from the western Eldoret region—and Education Minister Samuel Ongeri, to be investigated over corruption.

But his order was quickly overturned by President Mwai Kibaki, sparking an unprecedented clash between the two leaders of Kenya’s coalition government, which was formed two years ago to end ethnically driven political violence.

“We are intensifying security in remote areas and in towns where demonstrations had been planned since Monday,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.

“These are also areas where members of some communities have expressed fears for their security ...,” added the officer.

Police on Monday outlawed a planned demonstration against Odinga’s directive in Eldoret.

“There is certainly high tension and you can only imagine what can happen if we allowed people to go on the streets,” said another senior police officer who did not want to be named.

The open clash between Odinga and Kibaki rekindled old feuds between the two, who were forced to share power in a unity government set up in 2008 to end weeks of bloody clashes sparked by a disputed presidential poll.

The coalition government has been riven with infighting ever since.—Sapa-AFP

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