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Kenyan President Faces Opposition

December 9, 1997

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ A Kenyan politician filed papers Tuesday challenging President Daniel arap Moi for his parliamentary seat _ the first time he has faced such opposition _ but only after Moi’s supporters reportedly chased him into a church.

Moi, who has ruled the East African nation for 19 years, is seeking a fifth five-year term. He has not faced opposition for his parliamentary seat in 30 years because his supporters have intimidated potential opponents.

Kenyan law requires a presidential candidate to win a parliamentary seat in addition to getting the most votes nationwide.

If Amos Kiprotich Kandie, a little-known politician, wins the parliamentary election _ which is unlikely _ Moi would be disqualified from the presidency.

Moi is one of 15 presidential candidates in the Dec. 29 general elections.

Around the country, sporadic violence and at least six deaths were reported as supporters of various parties chose their candidates.

In 1992, during Kenya’s first multiparty elections in 26 years, Moi permitted opposition parties only because of local and international pressure. He argued that allowing opposition would lead to violence among Kenya’s more than 40 tribes. Opposition figures said the government orchestrated the violence, which left more than 1,500 dead, to prove Moi correct.

On Monday, Kandie was chased by the president’s supporters when he tried to hand in his papers to electoral officials in the town of Kabaranet, 150 miles northwest of Nairobi, Kenyan newspapers reported.

He managed to file the election papers Tuesday, according to the Kenyan Broadcasting Corp., after publicity about his flight into a church a day earlier apparently led to a change of heart among officials of Moi’s ruling Kenya African National Union party.

The president himself shook hands with Kandie and assured him he would not be harassed during the campaign, the radio said.

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