Thursday, April 17, 2008


Nearly three months after Kenya's disputed elections, the country's new power-sharing cabinet has been sworn in, including ODM's leader Raila Odinga as a Prime Minister.

As he was being sworn-in in front of dignitaries including Kofi Annan, the former UN chief who brokered the power-sharing deal with President Mwai Kibaki, Mr Odinga not only began a new phase of his political career, but a new era for Kenya.

"We will ensure that power, wealth and opportunity are [in] the hands of many, not the few," he said after taking his oath of office as Prime Minister. He becomes the second Prime Minister in the country's history.

At a lengthy ceremony in the capital, Nairobi, Kenya's 42 ministers and 50 assistant ministers - half belonging to or aligned with President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity, and half from Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement - took office.

The event officially puts in place the power-sharing government agreed upon by President Kibaki and Mr. Odinga in an agreement mediated by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in late February.

Mr. Annan was on hand for the event and urged support for the new government, despite concerns that the large number of ministers, the most in Kenya's history, is a waste of resources.

"I know there has been some debate as to the size of the government, but what is important is that we do have a government," he said. "We have an opportunity to put Kenya back on track and build a stronger Kenya and it is essential that you all support the leaders and the government."

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, Prime Minister Odinga, and President Kibaki also delivered speeches. President Kibaki sounded an optimistic note on moving forward.

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