Coalition partner refuses to join new Kenyan Cabinet

Coalition partners were refusing to join the new Cabinet named by President Mwai Kibaki, who is struggling to regain credibility amid corruption scandals and after voters rejected a constitution he backed. Thursday, at least two people Kibaki named a day before to his 29-member Cabinet rejected their appointments and at least 13 out of 47 proposed deputy ministers reportedly declined as well.

It was the first time since Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963 that politicians have rejected Cabinet or government positions soon after they were announced, pointing to a brewing crisis within the Kibaki administration.

Musikari Kombo, the leader of the Ford-Kenya party that is a member of Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition, told journalists Thursday that he would not take up a Cabinet post the president gave him because Kibaki had not consulted his party when he was shaping his new Cabinet. Kombo said that other party members who had been named deputy ministers will also not take up their positions. Kibaki named members of his partners in the National Rainbow Coalition, as well as members of two opposition parties, to his Cabinet late Wednesday.

Another lawmaker belonging to the Liberal Democratic Party, which is also a member of Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition, has declined the Cabinet position Kibaki gave him. Television stations reported Thursday that at least 13 deputy ministers had called their newsrooms to decline their posts, with some saying that their parties had not be consulted when Kibaki formed his Cabinet. Kibaki had said he wanted a Cabinet that "works as a team and pulls together in the same direction," to meet his goals of achieving higher economic growth for Kenya and creating more jobs.

The president did not name to his new Cabinet any of the seven former ministers who had campaigned against the draft constitution, but left most key positions unchanged from the Cabinet he dissolved on Nov. 23. Kibaki, however, dropped a close ally, Chris Murungaru, on whom Britain and the United States have imposed an indefinite visa ban, citing provisions for bans on government officials who are involved in corruption, informs the AP. N.U.

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