- The "no" vote on a new Kenyan constitution seems to get larger consequences than originally feared. President Mwa Kibaki has dissolved the government and a large part of Kenyans have started demanding new elections. Voters had turned against parliament and the President, critics hold.
Following his defeat in Monday's referendum over a new constitution, President Kibaki yesterday afternoon sacked his entire cabinet. Seven ministers of his ruling Rainbow Coalition (NARC) had been highly profiled "no" campaigners, while others had stood behind the President's "yes" recommendation to voters.
"Following the results of the referendum, it has become necessary for me, as the President of the Republic, to reorganise my government to make it more cohesive and better able to serve the people of Kenya," President Kibaki said, addressing the nation on radio and television.
He added that the dissolution of government had an "immediate effect". All ministerial posts are therefore currently vacated. "A reconstituted government will be in place within two weeks," President Kibaki told Kenyans in his short broadcasted speech.
Strong reactions to government's dissolution first started coming today. Both the formerly ruling opposition KANU party and leading figures from the "no" campaign today have called for a dissolution of parliament as well. The "no" vote and the sacking of government needed to lead to new elections, they hold.
The demand for new elections is spreading rapidly. It is generally assessed that a large part of those Kenyans voting against the new constitution principally wanted to protest against President Kibaki's policies. He is widely accused of not keeping his election promises on fighting poverty and corruption.
Leaders of the KANU opposition, who were united in their vote against the new constitution, today say that Kenyans had given a vote of no confidence against Parliament, which was in favour of the draft constitution. KANU Secretary-General William Ruto said Parliament had been "discredited" by the referendum and called for new elections.
The sacking of cabinet and demands for fresh elections have also silence the debate on whether works on a new constitution should be re-launched. The "no" campaign early yesterday had invited "yes" voters to join in an attempt to rewrite the draft while learning a lesson from people's demands.
President Kibaki, after recognising defeat, has not mentioned this with one word. He refers to the old constitution of 1963 as Kenya's legal framework, saying there is no power vacuum.
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