Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga was sworn in Thursday under a power-sharing deal with President Mwai Kibaki after weeks of deadly violence sparked by disputed elections. The former presidential rivals agreed in February to share power. After weeks of wrangling over a Cabinet that will include dozens of ministers, evenly split, Kibaki named Odinga as prime minister Sunday. (AP in The Wall Street Journal)
What the commentators said
This should end “the east African nation's worst political crisis since independence in 1963,” said Eric Ombok in Bloomberg.com. After 1,500 people died, Odinga and Kibaki agreed that forming a coalition government was the best way to end the “ethnic violence.”
What is needed most now is “cooperation and teamwork” among the cabinet ministers, said the Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Citizen in an editorial. If they can “work as a team, the peace that eluded the country will be everlasting.” If not, the turmoil could spill over into the rest of East Africa.
It won’t be easy to create harmony in a cabinet with 40 ministers and 52 assistant ministers, said Adam Mynott in BBCNews.com. And it won’t be cheap. In a country with annual per capita income under $400, the millions of dollars needed to pay for “the bloated unity cabinet” will hurt. “Some see it as a price worth paying for reconciliation after the disputed election, but many people view it as another example of the political class enriching itself on the backs of ordinary Kenyans.”