- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

NAIROBI, Kenya Kenyans are relishing the possibility of real political change after 24 years of rule by President Daniel arap Moi, and many look set to grab it by rebuffing his handpicked candidate for successor in elections tomorrow.
They hope an opposition united for the first time under veteran politician Mwai Kibaki will spark an economic, political and moral revival in the East African nation.
"There is hope. It's almost like we are back in 1963 and can start again. It's the best chance," said Dennis Kabaara, head of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank.
Since independence from Britain in 1963, Nairobi has been a pro-Western stalwart and a zone of relative stability in a region torn by civil conflicts. A smooth transfer of power would add Kenya to a growing list of African countries that have embraced peaceful multiparty politics.
Others think Mr. Moi's choice political novice Uhuru Kenyatta, 41-year-old son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta represents a new generation of leaders untainted by the failings of the politicians formed after independence.
A recent poll commissioned by the Washington-based International Republican Institute gave Mr. Kibaki a 47-point lead over Mr. Kenyatta.
For Kenyans, who have embraced cell phones and expanded media freedom, the elections are not so much about issues as they are about change, after 39 years under the rule of the Kenya African National Union (KANU).
But remedies proposed by both candidates are short on substance. So it comes down to either believing things will get better under KANU and the U.S.-educated Mr. Kenyatta, or under Mr. Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition, which promises a new era, even though Mr. Kibaki is 71 and used to be Mr. Moi's vice president and finance minister.

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