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Kibaki takes over Monday in Kenya

Kibaki: The political veteran has vowed to bring changes to Kenya.
Kibaki: The political veteran has vowed to bring changes to Kenya.

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A look back at Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi's 24 year tenure (December 27)
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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Kenya's opposition leader Mwai Kibaki is scheduled to take office Monday as Kenya's president, ending Daniel arap Moi's 24-year hold on power and four decades of control by his party.

Kibaki, a 71-year-old former vice president and finance minister, promised to deliver a more efficient and open government.

"Although we were sure in the middle of our heart that we would win, you know, until it has happened, you don't know that truly that it will happen," Kibaki told supporters. "Here we are -- it has happened."

Kibaki's National Alliance Rainbow Coalition also gained the greatest number of Kenya's 210 parliamentary seats.

The Electoral Commission of Kenya declared Kibaki the winner of Friday's balloting after his rival, Uhuru Kenyatta -- the candidate of Moi's ruling KANU party and the son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta -- conceded defeat.

"I accept the choice of the people," he said Sunday.

Moi, 78, has been criticized as autocratic and his government as corrupt during his 24-year rule. Diplomatic sources estimate Kenya lost up to $870 million a year to corruption from 1990 to 1997.

Kibaki will be Kenya's third president since 1963, when it gained independence from Britain, and the first from a party other than KANU. He served as Moi's vice president from 1978 to 1988 but bolted the KANU in the early 1990s.

Moi pledged Friday he would hand over power to the winner.

"I have completed my time, and therefore I want to wish the one to whom I am going to hand over well," he said. "I hope the people will respect the verdict and the voice of the people."

Kenya has been an ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell praised Kenyan officials for conducting an open and orderly election.

"The president-elect has made a commitment to ending corruption, to economic development, to social advancement within the country," Powell said on CNN's "Late Edition."

"If he moves forward on that agenda, it would be good for Kenya, good for the Kenyan people and, of course, good for relations with the United States."

Kenya has been the recent scene of two major terrorist attacks -- the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, which killed more than 200 people, most of them Kenyans, and last month's bombing of an Israeli-owned resort hotel in Mombasa, which killed 10 Kenyans and three Israelis.

NARC supporters celebrate in Kamukunji, Kenya
NARC supporters celebrate in Kamukunji, Kenya

Kibaki's first challenges will be to overhaul a stagnant economy and placate a populace impatient with widespread corruption.

Yusuf Nzibo, Kenya's ambassador to the United Nations, said the country faces broad economic and political changes.

"Kenya is the gateway to eastern and central Africa, so we have to look at the question of investment and trade and ... continue the process of privatization -- to look at the infrastructure," Nzibo said.

Nzibo said he expects Kenyatta to remain as opposition leader and predicted "radical changes" in the KANU party.

"We hope that they will work together to tackle all the problems that we face," he said.

CNN Nairobi Bureau Chief Catherine Bond contributed to this report.



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