- As flurry of diplomatic efforts to quell the country's deadly political unrest involving the government and the main opposition continues, 17 newly appointed Kenyan ministers took oath of office on Thursday at State House in the capital Nairobi.
Most Kenyans fear the impact of the latest move on international mediation brokered by the United States and the African Union. Having named all the key ministerial positions, it was likely that the leader of the anger-stricken opposition Orange Democratic Movement would agree to be part of cabinet line-up.
The sworn cabinet members included Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who was placed third in the controversial presidential polls under the banner of ODM-K, a splinter group of Raila Odinga's party.
Kibaki has also appointed Dr Naomi Shaban as the country's first Muslim woman to cabinet. Dr. Naomi Shaban is in charge of the Minister of Special Programmes.
The ODM, which sounded the whistle over stolen victory, had announced its decision to stay away from holding a crisis meeting with President Kibaki, describing it as "public relations gimmickry."
Both Kibaki and Odinga had talks with the African Union Chair and Ghanaian President, John Kufuor, agreeing to settle to nail the unfolding political unrest in the country. After his efforts to convince the opposition to hold talks with the government had failed, Kufuor had extended his trip by another day.
Close to 100 women supporters of the ODM staged protest rallies in Nairobi, chanting anti-government slogans such as "no peace, no justice. Kibaki is a thief." They were dispersed by police teargas.
Addressing the newly sworn cabinet members, President Kibaki reiterated his government's firm commitment to serve all Kenyans without discrimination.
He expressed confidence that the team will effectively serve the interest of Kenyans.
"We have one country and we should be committed to serving all Kenyans diligently," President Kibaki said, assuring that the remaining ministerial portfolios would be filled later.
The political unrest had claimed 600 lives, displaced tens of thousands as well as seriously ravaged the economy of Kenya, East Africa's largest economy.
Relative peace and calm has returned to many parts of the country, but aid agencies said many internally displaced people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Besides, tribalism, which played a key role in the unrest, continues to rear its ugly face, with Kikuyus [the ruling class tribe that has become victim of tribal attacks] driving out other tribesmen from their industries and farms.
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