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Moi gets his man! President Arap Moi has finally got his chosen heir nominated as his successor. (Around Africa: Kenya).

Uhuru Kenyatta has already pledged to President Arap Moi the one sure thing he (Moi) would expect of him: "seek his advice on running the country". Shortly after the ruling KANU party had endorsed him as its presidential candidate for next month's (December) elections, thanks to months of cajoling and bullying by Moi, Uhuru who only recently became a minister and who, according to Moi himself, is a "young man who can be guided", lost no time in telling his cheering supporters that he would "seek [Moi's] advice on running the country". "If elected, I will serve Kenya with all my soul, all my heart and body," Uhuru told the adoring crowd. That was music to Moi's ears. In return, the Old Man assured Uhuru: "I will be with you all the way to ensure all KANU candidates win." It was like two young lovers meeting for the first time.

Uhuru was declared presidential candidate unopposed. He was proposed by Musalia Mudavadi and seconded by Katana Ngala, both party vice-chairmen (Uhuru is also a party vice-chairman himself). He was subsequently endorsed by 4,500 delegates from all constituencies across the country gathered at KANU's convention.

Moi, watching from the high table, could not have wanted more. But by "hand-picking" Uhuru as his successor, Moi has sparked a fierce revolt never seen before within KANU, a party that has ruled uninterrupted since independence. Six cabinet ministers resigned in just two days after Uhuru's nomination. The dissidents have since formed their own party called the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). They have teamed up with the second biggest opposition party, Ford People, under the aegis of the Rainbow Alliance. They are now negotiating to join the NAK, the biggest opposition grouping in the country to present a unified candidate to fight Uhuru. According to the former energy minister, Raila Odinga, now a member of the LDP, more KANU defectors will soon join the new LDP. No, says Uhuru. "Nobody has chased them. If they have decided to leave, it is a pity but we shall not be held back," Uhuru told his supporters. "Kanu's chances of winning the general election are very good. KANU is poised to win the elections, I ha ve no doubts in my mind whatsoever."
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Author:Makondo, Pauline
Publication:New African
Geographic Code:6KENY
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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