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Kenya new emphasis on education and human rights
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Friday, 17 January 2003
The government of the new president, Mwai Kibaki, has begun revamping Kenyas policies, starting with public education and human rights, as it sought to rebuild a country that was fraying under the long rule of Daniel arap Moi. One promise more than any other brought applause from Kenyans during the presidential campaign. When Mr. Kibaki, who won the Dec. 27 election in a landslide, said he would eliminate the fees primary school students were required to pay to attend class, crowd after crowd would roar with glee. Kibaki fulfilled his promise Monday (Jan. 6) when students returning from the holidays to the countrys 17,000 primary schools found that the fees were no more. But students also found overflowing classrooms in some parts of the country as many parents who could not afford to send their children to class under the old policy took advantage of the new rules. Enrollment in public school stood at about 85 percent in Mr. Mois final year, down from 95 percent in 1990. Mr. Kibaki Jan. 3 named his first cabinet, including in it many last-minute defectors from the regime of former president Moi. The new 21-member cabinet, which contains two women, was larger than anticipated but a far cry from the bloated administration of Moi. Observers said it represented a cautious line up, with Mr. Kibaki recognizing those who had played a key role in his landslide election victory on Dec. 27, while at the same reflecting Kenyas complex ethnic makeup.
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