The Rise and Fall of the Opposition, December 1991-October 1992
Following the introduction of political pluralism, the ruling party was divided into two main groups, Moderates, led by the then Minister of Health Mwai Kibaki, saw the decision as an opportunity for the party to reform itself and to pay greater attention to public opinion. Kibaki informed the press that he intended to remain in KANU in an attempt to end speculation that he was about to defect to the opposition. Political commentators anticipated that he would play a prominent role in KANU's attempt to hold on to Kikuyu votes as the ruling party's most credible standard-bearer in Central Province, returning to the political limelight after three and a half years on the sidelines.1 John Keen also suggested that the ruling party needed to make fundamental reforms in order to present a credible alternative to FORD. The hardliners, reeling from Moi's decision, were slightly heartened by the release of Biwott after 10 days' confinement, just after the conference, for 'lack of evidence'.
When President Moi bowed to international pressure to repeal Section 2(A) of the constitution and permit the registration of opposition political parties, FORD was transformed swiftly into a government in waiting, seemingly certain of victory at the next general election, due within a year. Yet the new party faced major problems. Although committed on paper to pluralism, Kenya remained a centralised, authoritarian state in which the civil service acted as the direct organ of the ruling party, and traditions of peaceful legitimate dissent were weak. The transition to multi-party politics also brought to the surface divisions between different ethnic groups, and generational conflicts between old-guard politicians and the Young Turks (as they became universally known), the young professionals who had spearheaded change. Soon the rival groups were locked in a battle to control the new party.