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Kenya

Kibaki summons Grand Cabinet

NAIROBI, May 14 – President Mwai Kibaki is on Thursday scheduled to chair the first formal Cabinet meeting of the Grand Coalition Government, four weeks after the 42-member structure was sworn in.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service stated: “The meeting will take place at State House, Nairobi.”

The power-sharing Cabinet is expected to discuss several issues that face the new coalition and the country in general.

The issue of security and how to deal with outlawed gangs, such as the Mungiki and Sabaot Land Defence Force, is likely to feature prominently at the meeting.

Another item on the agenda is said to be the ongoing resettlement of internal refugees.

Hundreds of thousands of families have been resettled from camps after they were displaced from their homes in the post-election violence, many of whom have pleaded with the Government to find them abode in alternative pieces of land, citing security concerns in the areas where they used to stay.

There have also been concerns that the repatriation of tens of thousands of displaced people was being rushed.

A group of civil society organisations last week accused the new government of hurrying the return without addressing underlying ethnic tensions.

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The more than 25 organisations said the resettlement operation must be handled with greater sensitivity if the country was to achieve lasting peace.

Violent clashes after December’s disputed election left some 1,000 people dead and 500,000 homeless, after claims that the process was manipulated.

To stop the chaos, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga agreed to share power in February after negotiations led by former UN head Kofi Annan.

During an induction course for all senior government officials last week, Odinga urged all ministers to work together and iron out any differences in private.

EALA

Meanwhile, President Kibaki held a meeting Wednesday with speakers of the legislative assemblies of the East African region who are converged in the country for a conference.

The meeting at Harambee House was attended by the National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Abdi Abdirahman, Tanzanian Speaker Samuel Sitta and Rwanda’s Speaker Alfred Mukezamsura.

President Kibaki said he was happy that Rwanda and Burundi had joined most of the East African Community (EAC) affiliate bodies including the East Africa Legislative Assembly.

He challenged members of EALA to pass legislation that would aid and facilitate Kenya’s support for the integration process, noting that the country fully supports all organs of the EAC.

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