Monday, April 14, 2008

Power-sharing cabinet appointed - Mon 4/14/2008

FACTBOX-What next for Kenya's power-sharing deal?

Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:08pm EDT

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April 13 (Reuters) - Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki named a coalition cabinet on Sunday making his chief rival Raila Odinga prime minister, the crux of a deal to end a bloody post-election crisis that killed more than 1,200 people.

Here are answers to some questions about what happens next:

The National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008, brokered by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan in February, establishes power-sharing based on a political party's relative strength in parliament by apportioning cabinet posts.

After six weeks of haggling and one false start, Kibaki named a 41-member cabinet creating the post of prime minister and split the remainder between his Party of National Unity coalition and Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement.

Odinga becomes only the second prime minister in Kenyan history. Jomo Kenyatta was prime minister for barely a year after independence in 1963, until his title was changed to president.

During the lengthy negotiations, the two sides had haggled over what they considered the most influential ministries. Ultimately, Odinga and Kibaki split the difference.

Still unresolved -- and sure to be debated by both sides -- is the extent of Kibaki's executive authority under the Act, Odinga's powers, and the naming of civil service posts.

But once that is finished, the two sides must work together on revamping the constitution. The crisis laid bare issues of land, power and wealth that have divided Kenya's 42 ethnic groups almost since it was drafted on the eve of independence.

Since the early 1990s, Kenyans have clamoured for a new charter to help trim the president's vast powers, to introduce checks and balances and eliminate loopholes put in place by Kenyatta and his successor, Daniel arap Moi.

In 2005, Odinga and his allies at the time, including new Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, defeated a Kibaki-backed draft in a contentious referendum. So most Kenyans expect the road ahead to be rocky.

The shilling currency has been the strongest barometer of confidence, and has risen after every positive political move. It is near pre-election levels now, and most dealers expect it to stay there barring any major political disagreement.The political harm to the economy has been compounded by inflation which hit 21 percent in March. But the stock market may be somewhat insulated because of overwhelming regional and foreign interest in the recent IPO by mobile firm Safaricom [SCOM.NR], the region's biggest share offering.

If history is any measure, that is questionable.Odinga and Kibaki teamed up to win the 2002 election, but rarely agreed after the president took power. Odinga said Kibaki reneged on a promise to make him prime minister after that election. Kibaki fired Odinga from the cabinet in 2005, after the constitutional referendum.The deal brokered in February says the coalition can be broken three ways: if parliament is dissolved, if the parties agree to it in writing, or if one party withdraws.That gives both sides the power to ruin things, but diplomats say pressure from Kenyans and the international community should prevent that. The president would retain the power to call elections should that happen. Were the coalition to fail, most Kenyans fear violence would erupt again.

(Writing by Bryson Hull; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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