Kenyan leaders to announce cabinet Sunday

April 4th, 2008 - 6:19 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, April 4 (Xinhua) Kenyan leaders are likely to announce Sunday a 40-member power sharing cabinet to end a political showdown that led to deadly clashes between supporters of the ruling party and the opposition. President Mwai Kibaki and opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga, who is set to be prime minister, Thursday announced the agreement after a two-hour meeting over the size of the cabinet and distribution of portfolios, the key part of the power-sharing deal.

Under pressure from his allies in smaller parties to reward them with top posts, Kibaki had initially proposed having 44 ministries - nearly twice the size of the 23-strong cabinet he appointed after his election in 2002, and six more than when his term expired last year.

As part of Thursday’s agreement, Kibaki will retain defence, finance and internal security ministers, but will give up local government, foreign affairs, tourism and health posts to the ODM.

Sources said President Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) will also retain justice and constitutional affairs and information and communications while transport, energy and roads will be given out to the ODM.

Sources close to the two leaders said Friday that the ODM would also bag agriculture and immigration and registration of people ministries.

Details of how other key ministries will be shared out remained unclear. However, new ministries will be carved out of existing ones to create room for the 40 cabinet members.

The announcement came on the heels of growing fears a stalemate between the government and opposition over the distribution of ministerial posts could turn into bloody unrests. The stalemate attracted street protests in Kenya.

Addressing reporters after talks, Odinga said they had agreed to formally announce the team April 6. “We have agreed to announce the cabinet Sunday and that the cabinet will be sworn in (next) Saturday (April 12),” Odinga said.

A statement from President Kibaki said both parties were pleased with the outcome of the discussions in the spirit of give and take.

The long consultations were necessary to enable there be an agreement that is amicable and good for the country, the statement added.

Chief mediator, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan Wednesday expressed concern over the slow pace at forming the grand coalition government. Some 1,000 people died after the opposition said the polls were rigged.

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