Kenya: IRIN Election Briefing, 12/13/97

Kenya: IRIN Election Briefing, 12/13/97

U N I T E D N A T I O N S Department of Humanitarian Affairs Integrated Regional Information Network for Central and Eastern Africa

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Kenya: IRIN Election Briefing 13 December 1997 97.12.13

Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi will face 14 challengers, including two women, in national elections on 29 December - the most crowded presidential race in the history of independent Kenya. The winner will be elected by simple majority, but there will be a run-off between the top two candidates if no one receives at least 25 percent of the vote in at least five of Kenya's eight provinces.

The candidates and their parties are as follows:

1. Daniel arap Moi (Kenya African National Union - KANU)

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, president and member of parliament (MP) for Baringo Central, was born on 2 September 1924, in Kurieng'ewo village, Sacho, Baringo district in Rift Valley province. A member of the Tugen sub-group of the minority Kalenjin ethnic confederation, he is running for a final five-year term after governing the country for 19 years. He is favourite to win.

At the age of 10, Moi's uncle sent him to Kabartonjo Africa Inland Mission School 20 km from home. After the long walk home each day he helped his mother tending the cattle and goats. Later he boarded at Kapsabet Africa Inland Mission School, walking the 150 km home at the end of each term. In 1945, he began his teaching career at Tambach African Government School, rising to become Headmaster of Kabarnet Intermediate School in 1948.

Moi made his political debut in 1955, when at the age of 31 he was nominated as a member of the Legislative Council. The opposition Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) party was formed in 1960 and Moi became Chairman. He was appointed Education Minister in the pre-independence coalition government. In the 1963 elections he won the Baringo seat and was made Home Affairs Minister a year later. In 1966, he was made vice-president under President Jomo Kenyatta. On Kenyatta's death in 1978, Moi succeeded to the presidency, foiling a plot to stop him by the Kikuyu-led Change the Constitution Movement. In 1982, an attempted coup led by Kenya Air Force officers was crushed by forces loyal to Moi.

Moi bowed reluctantly to pressure from donors and opposition groups and introduced multi-party politics in 1991, winning the first democratic multi-party elections in December 1992 with 36.8 percent of the vote against seven rivals. Moi is regarded as an astute politician and a wily survivor. He is a regular church-goer and is said to start his working day as early as four in the morning. The father of two girls and five boys, he divorced his wife in 1976 and has not remarried.

2. Charity Kaluki Ngilu (Social Democratic Party - SDP).

An energetic 45-year-old campaigner, Ngilu is a businesswoman who was elected to parliament for the Democratic Party in Kitui Central, east of Nairobi, in 1992. She quit the DP earlier this year to run on the SDP ticket. One of the first two women ever to vie for the highest political office in the land, Ngilu has introduced a new element of unpredictability into this year's poll. If successful, she would become sub-Saharan Africa's first elected female president.

Untainted by scandal, Ngilu has promised to remain in office for only one term and pledged to end corruption, appealing to Kenyans to make her president because of something she is not - a traditional politician of the old school. Her presence has invigorated the campaign, but she faces the problem that many Kenyan men and women still believe a man should lead the country. Her Kamba tribe was solidly behind Moi in 1992, and her candidacy means he may have trouble winning 25 percent of the vote in her Eastern Province. Married to a plastics engineer and mother of three teenagers, Ngilu trained in business administration, worked for a US bank in Nairobi and then opened a small bakery and a restaurant before starting her main business, a plastics extrusion factory.

3. Mwai Kibaki (Democratic Party of Kenya - DP)

Kibaki, 66, entered politics in 1960 as KANU's national executive officer after graduating in economics from Makerere University, Uganda, and the London School of Economics. He has been a member of parliament since independence from Britain in 1963. He served as a finance minister under Kenyatta and was Moi's vice president from 1978 to 1988. In 1988, he won the Othaya seat for the third consecutive time, but immediately after the election was demoted to health minister. In December 1991, he resigned from the government and in January 1992 founded the DP. In the last elections, he took third place with 20 percent of the vote. The second-place winner, Kenneth Matiba, who ran for FORD-Asili, won 26 percent, but is now party less and on the sidelines. Kibaki, a Kikuyu, is expected to do well in Central Province.

4. Michael Kijana Wamalwa (Forum for the Restoration of Democracy - FORD-Kenya)

Official leader of the Opposition and FORD-Kenya MP for Saboti, Wamalwa was born in Trans Nzoia district in November 1944. Wamalwa gained a degree in law from King's College, Cambridge in 1968 and the following year a master's in international law from the London School of Economics. He also has a diploma in international law from the Hague Academy of International Law. He lectured in law at Nairobi University from 1970 until 1976. In 1974, he contested the Kitale West seat, but failed. It was at that time he was nicknamed 'Kijana', meaning 'youth' in Kiswahili - the implication being that he was still too young to make it in politics. He won the seat in 1979, but the nickname stuck. In 1988, he became MP for Saboti and was appointed KANU parliamentary secretary. After the introduction of pluralism, he became second vice-chairman of the original Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD) in September 1992. When the party split, he joined Raila Odinga's faction, but soon clashed with him. In January 1997, the battle finally ended with Raila Odinga setting up his own party and Wamalwa being confirmed as chairman of FORD-K. He is regarded as one of the finest orators in parliament. In a recent interview with AFP, he said he joined the opposition in the early 1990s after realising that KANU was "doing everything wrong" and that a personality cult was developing around Moi "to a point where he was being deified."

5. Raila Odinga (National Development Party of Kenya - NDP)

Second son of Kenya's first vice-president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Raila is the current chairman of the NDP and the party's MP for Lang'ata. Raila was born in Maseno, Kisumu district, Nyanza Province in 1945. After completing his secondary education at Kisumu and Maranda secondary schools, he won a scholarship to study in East Germany where he stayed until 1970 and gained a degree in mechanical engineering. On return to Kenya, he became an assistant lecturer in mechanical engineering at Nairobi University. Raila has been detained three times by the Moi government. The first time was in 1982 when he was charged with planning the failed Air Force coup. In 1988, shortly after his release, he was detained again, and released in June 1989. In July 1990 he was again detained and held for 11 months, after which he fled to Norway. He returned in February 1992 and joined FORD. After the party split, he unsuccessfully struggled against Wamalwa for the leadership of FORD-K. This culminated in his resigning from FORD-K and as the Lang'ata FORD-K MP. He then formed the NDP and won back the Lang'ata seat in a by-election. He commands broad support in western Kenya, especially among young people belonging to his own Luo tribe.

6. Koigi wa Wamwere (Kenya National Democratic Alliance - KENDA)

A dreadlocked dissident, Wamwere became eligible to run at the last minute when the Supreme Court nullified, on 1 December, a four-year prison sentence he was given in 1995 for allegedly raiding a police station and stealing guns. Wamwere, 49, served in parliament as a KANU dissident in the days of one-party rule. He was enormously popular among peasant farmers, both among his own Kikuyu and other ethnic groups. He was detained without trial or charge for three years under Kenyatta. After several years in exile in Norway, he was rearrested in 1990, and spent another two years in jail charged with treason. Those charges were finally dropped without explanation.

7. Martin Shikuku (FORD-Asili)

Factional FORD-Asili leader and the party's MP for Butere, Shikuku is one of the few pre-independence politicians still in politics. Born in December 1935 in Magadi, Rift Valley Province, Shikuku was educated at the Magadi Soda Company school and Mumias secondary school. He joined KADU in 1960 as a youth leader and in 1963 became the MP for Butere. He championed the cause of the poor and became known as "the people's watchman". In 1975, he was detained for saying KANU was "dead". On his release in 1978 he was ill and on crutches and went to Sweden for medical treatment. Back in parliament, he served as an assistant minister between 1980 and 1986, when he was dismissed after being accused by Moi of making disparaging remarks about Kenyatta and his government. In 1992, he became the secretary-general of FORD, but soon fell out with Oginga Odinga. When the party split, Shikuku joined Matiba's faction, but soon also fell out with him.

8. Wangari Maathai (Liberal Party - LP)

The first Kenyan woman to obtain a doctorate, Maathai is Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nairobi and has never been in parliament. She is internationally renowned as an activist in the Green Belt Movement, a militant environment conservation group. Maathai, 57, has also been a vocal critic of Moi's government. She is a Kikuyu.

9. George Anyona (Kenya Social Congress - KSC)

A former university lecturer and political prisoner, Anyona is a Kisii from western Nyanza Province. He was presidential candidate for the same party in 1992, but received less than one percent of the vote. Anyona, the sole member of parliament for the KSC, was secretary of the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group which drew up constitutional revisions enacted before parliament was dissolved last month.

10. Kimani wa Nyoike of FORD-People, yet another splinter group from the once-powerful FORD umbrella grouping which successfully fought for an end to one-party rule. Nyoike, another Kikuyu, is a former trade union activist and secretary of state for labour.

The remaining five candidates, representing minor parties, are:

11. Munyua Waiyaki (Patriotic Party of Kenya - UPPK). A doctor, and a foreign minister under Kenyatta. A Kikuyu.

12. Katama Mkangi (Kenya National Congress - KNC). A sociologist who was a political prisoner in the 1980s.

13. Waweru Ng'ethe (Umma Party) 14. Godfrey Mwireria (Green African Party) 15. Stephen Wilfred Omondi Oludhe (Economic Independence Party)

Nairobi, 13 December 1997


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Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997 15:49:46 +0300 (GMT+0300) From: UN IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: Kenya: IRIN Election Briefing 13 December 1997 97.12.13 Message-ID: <> MIME-Version: 1.0

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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