Kenya leaders clash over graft probe

NAIROBI - Kenya's fractious coalition government faced its biggest crisis yesterday since emerging from post-election violence two years ago, as its rival leaders clashed openly over a corruption probe.

NAIROBI - Kenya's fractious coalition government faced its biggest crisis yesterday since emerging from post-election violence two years ago, as its rival leaders clashed openly over a corruption probe.

President Mwai Kibaki revoked the suspension of two ministers within hours of a decision announced Sunday by prime minister Raila Odinga to sideline them during an investigation into millions of dollars in missing foreign aid.

Kibaki said Odinga had no power to suspend the ministers, and contradicted the prime minister's assertion that he had taken the decision in consultation with the president.

The clash reopened old wounds between the rivals, forced to work together in a power-sharing deal thrashed out in 2008 to end bloody clashes triggered by disputed elections.

"The power struggle between them is indicative of the deep-rooted suspicion within the coalition partners," said Evans Monari, a Nairobi political analyst.

"Without a dispute resolution Kenya is between a rock and a hard place. They have shown utter contempt to Kenyans who have maintained relative peace," Monari told AFP.

Odinga had suspended agriculture minister William Ruto and education minister Sam Ongeri for three months so they could be investigated for alleged corruption amid growing international pressure to deal with rampant graft. - Sapa-AFP

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