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Kenyan opposition parties choosing presidential candidates

Kenyan opposition parties choosing presidential candidates

Kenya's election campaign is entering high gear as two main opposition parties on Friday choose challengers to face President Mwai Kibaki, who is seeking a second term in this year's elections.
The vote, scheduled for December, would be the first time an incumbent president faced a credible challenge in Kenya. When Kibaki ran in 2002, his predecessor, Daniel arap Moi, was barred constitutionally from extending his 24 years in power. Moi, whose presidency was tainted by vast corruption, won in 1992 and 1997 amid vote rigging allegations.
Kibaki was elected in 2002 on a platform of reform, ending the 39-year rule of the Kenya African National Union party that had became synonymous with corruption, mismanagement and human rights violations. His administration has improved many government services, but has fumbled when it comes to fighting high-level graft.
On Friday, long-serving former Cabinet minister Kalonzo Musyoka, 52, is likely to clinch the nomination of the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya party to tap into that disappointment. Musyoka's sole competitor in the party is 70-year-old Julia Ojiambo, an assistant minister for 15 years under Moi.
Musyoka, who has described himself as a social democrat, has promised to fulfill the demand of many Kenyans to enact a new constitution that is more democratic than the current one, which gives the presidency enormous powers. He has said he is committed to a free market economy, so long as it is balanced with the need to tackle Kenya's debilitating poverty.
About 46 percent of the population lives under a dollar (euro) a day, according to government figures.
On Saturday, the Orange Democratic Movement Party of Kenya will choose its candidate from a list of five hopefuls, all of whom have served as Cabinet minister under Moi or Kibaki.
Raila Odinga, 62, is the leading contender and advocates a parliamentary system of government to change the current emphasis on tribe in Kenyan politics. He has also vowed to boost the economy by investing in infrastructure. He says he will finance that by broadening Kenya's tax base and seeking foreign loans.
Presidential hopefuls have been crisscrossing Kenya since January _ something that would have been impossible under Moi. Police and local administrators blocked the then-president's opponents from campaigning outside the capital and their strongholds.


Updated : 2021-06-20 08:02 GMT+08:00