Moi not gone yet.

Author:Odhiambo, Peter
Position:Kenya - Brief Article
 
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Going, going...not gone yet? President Daniel Arap Moi's final term in office officially expires early next January while the life of the 8th Parliament ends about a month later. But now Kenya's ruling party, Kanu, on 18 June, agreed to delay the general election by up to 12 months or until such a time when it can be held under the aegis of a new constitution.

The move effectively secured Moi another year in power, and a de facto postponement of his retirement.

MPs from the ruling party, Kanu, announced that they had unanimously resolved to extend the president's term of office and the life of parliament "in order to avoid a constitutional crisis".

But this latest twist in an increasingly tortuous and heated political process immediately sparked fury among the opposition, the Law Society of Kenya and the National Council of NGOs.

Opposition leaders threatened to call mass protests and a general strike if Kanu tried to push through the change, claiming that after 24 years in power, Moi, one of Africa's longest-serving leaders, still wanted another year in power so he could hold a lavish silver jubilee, an idea he apparently got from the recent celebrations in Britain.

Politicians have been wrangling for five years over a new constitution that was supposed to be in place for the elections. The Kenya Review Commission, the government body drafting the constitution, recently announced that it would not be completed in time.

The new constitution is expected to cut the immense powers that the presidency has accumulated through dozens of amendments made to the existing document which Kenya inherited at independence from Britain in 1963. Kanu says it will give the drafting body until next May to finish the job.

Otieno Kajwang, Kanu's secretary general for Legal and Constitutional Affairs, said: "MPs took into consideration the fact that the Ghai-led Commission sought from Parliament an extension of its term for eight months from 4 October 2002 to 15 May 2003, to enable it complete its task as provided by the Act.

"The new legislation to be enacted will include the Local Government Act, the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections Act, the Electoral...

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