Kenya: Churches celebrate new president
Church leaders in Kenya are urging their new president, Mwai Kibaki, to keep his promises. In particular, they want him to improve the economy, root out corruption, and provide free primary education and affordable health care.
In December 27 elections, Kibaki and his opposition National Rainbow Coalition trounced Daniel arap Moi's ruling Kenya African National Union, which had governed the country since independence in 1963. Moi, 78, stepped down before the vote. According to a constitutional provision introduced in 1992, presidents are limited to two five-year terms. Moi's second term expired last year.
Patrick Rukenya is general secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. He attributed Kibaki's victory to "the hand of the Lord." Still, he said, churches should continue pointing out "mistakes in the country, so that things can move again."
Churches, Muslim groups, and nongovernmental organizations deployed more than 19,000 observers and poll watchers.
In recent years, church leaders in the Christian majority nation have criticized Moi and called for political reforms. Kibaki, a former vice president, said he would implement them. He joined the political opposition a decade ago.
"You have asked me to lead this nation out of the present wilderness and malaise into the Promised Land," Kibaki said. "And I shall do so."