- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

NAIROBI, Kenya Kenya's ruling party nominated the son of the country's first president to be its candidate in the next election, prompting senior members to quit and form their own party.
Local Government Minister Uhuru Kenyatta won approval yesterday to lead the Kenya African National Union after other presidential aspirants boycotted the party's convention.
A political novice, Mr. Kenyatta, 41, was favored by President Daniel arap Moi, who has said he is someone who "could be guided." Mr. Kenyatta is the son of Mr. Moi's predecessor, Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta.
But the choice alienated some of Mr. Moi's former Cabinet ministers, who staged a rally Monday in downtown Nairobi that attracted 50,000 people, including all leading opposition figures.
Mr. Moi is required under the constitution to step down at the end of the year, ending his 24-year tenure as Kenya's second president. Kenya gained independence from Britain in 1963.
Accepting the nomination, Mr. Kenyatta thanked Mr. Moi for his support and praised him as a "great regional peacemaker and elder statesman." He said he would seek Mr. Moi's advice if elected. Mr. Moi has said he plans to remain active in politics and continue as party chairman.
Mr. Kenyatta also promised to fight corruption in Kenya, which he said had "contributed to the poor performance of our economy." The East African nation, once a regional powerhouse, has stagnated for the past several years amid accusations of rampant government mismanagement.
His speech was met with perfunctory applause, and the delegates began filing out while Mr. Moi was still addressing them.
Meanwhile, all of Kenya's leading opposition figures joined the union's dissidents at the rally, where the dissidents announced a coalition with one major opposition group, the FORD People, and said they were negotiating with another.
It was the first time since the multiparty system was reintroduced in 1991 that all opposition leaders appeared united.
In 1997, Mr. Moi won 40 percent of the vote in the face of a divided opposition. His closest rival won 31 percent.
Mr. Moi, who recently fired his vice president of 13 years, said no one in his party but Mr. Kenyatta had the qualifications for the job.
The other presidential aspirants within the ruling party included George Saitoti, the former vice president; Raila Odinga, former energy minister and opposition politician; Moody Awori, an assistant Cabinet minister and Kalonzo Musyoka, who resigned yesterday as the information and tourism minister.
Yesterday, the dissidents met with opposition party officials and told reporters that they would campaign for the upcoming general elections under the banner of the Liberal Democratic Party.
"We have recognized the need to work together toward bringing about meaningful political and economic change in the country," Mr. Musyoka said.
Elections are expected before the end of the year, but Mr. Moi has not set the date.


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