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Dec 27: Monkeys changed, forest did not

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 26 – One year after Kenyans went to the polls to elect new leadership they have expressed dissatisfaction on how they have been governed.

Most said the grand coalition government, that came into place after tough negotiations following disputed presidential elections that triggered horrific clashes, has failed to address issues affecting them.

There was widespread public anger at the rising cost of food and fuel combined with the refusal by Members of Parliament to pay taxes on their salaries.

 “No sector works in this country. Government should get serious since they have done nothing since taking office, but we thank God for peace,” said an elderly man interviewed by Capital News.

The grand coalition government was formed in April, three and a half months after the December 27 elections.

President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory but Raila Odinga, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, who had been leading in polls, said that fraud had taken place and the poll hijacked.

This caused a standoff between the supporters of the two leaders that lasted for weeks and resulted in more than 1,500 people being  killed and another 300,000 displaced in clashes fought predominantly in Rift Valley province, an ODM strong hold.

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General, helped to mediate the signing of a peace deal in  which a new cabinet with 40 ministries split evenly between the President’s Party of National Unity coalition and Mr Odinga’s ODM was named.

President Kibaki retained the Presidency and Mr Odinga became the Prime Minister.

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ODM-Kenya leader Kalonzo Musyoka was also appointed Vice President. Mr Musyoka trailed the two in the general election.

Those interviewed by Capital News outlined issues they would like tackled by the grand coalition government in 2009.

Key among them was the economic situation in the country. They called on the government to do something to reduce the high cost of living and to create more employment opportunities.
“We want the salaries of teachers increased immediately as promised, people are hungry.”

The citizens also wanted the government to ensure that any person convicted of a post-election violence offence to barred from holding any public office or contesting any electoral position.

Mr Kibaki and the Prime Minister recently signed an agreement to establish a tribunal for cases related to violence after the country’s 2007 election.


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