Kenyans say jumbo coalition cabinet a colossal waste

NAIROBI, April 4, 2008 (AFP) – Kenyan papers and political watchdogs Friday criticised the size of a coalition cabinet announced a day earlier, saying 40 ministers were a colossal waste of money in a country with widespread misery. They also slammed President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, head of the Orange Democratic Movement, for creating the country’s largest ever cabinet with five new portfolios when hundreds of thousands displaced by post-election strife remain in camps.

“What Kibaki and Raila (Odinga) did was to show that their clients are not the people of Kenya, but themselves and their political expedients,” said Gladwell Otieno, the head of the Africa Centre for Open Governance.

“The two agreed to set up a totally wasteful government, rewarding each other with ministries that we do not need and yet they are the ones who set off the crisis that has left Kenyans suffering,” she added.

Kibaki and Odinga announced on Thursday that an agreement had been reached on a coalition government after weeks of bitter wrangling over its size and the attribution of key portfolios.

The announcement was seen as a key step in the implementation of a deal reached on February 28 to end the violence that erupted following di