, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – Denmark has pledged support to Kenya’s Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) once it is established.
Speaking in Nairobi during talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tornes said her country would continue to support electoral reforms in Kenya.
Said the Minister: “Denmark has stood with Kenya in good and bad times since the 1960s, and we intend to continue supporting Kenya in her reform agenda within the framework agreed upon with Kofi Annan.”
Ms Ulla said there is need to provide an enabling environment for the realisation of this reform agenda and singled out the fight against corruption and impunity as being critical to the success of reforms in Kenya.
She recalled that last year, the Danish government had formed the Commission for Africa with majority members from the African continent.
“The idea is to come up with concrete and implementable proposals on how we as development partners can have a stronger focus on job creation,” she added.
Noting that the African continent required 10-15 million jobs per year, the Danish Minister expressed willingness by development partners to assist in job creation, by investing in Africa.
Ms Ulla, who was accompanied by Danish businessmen, said that they were keen on exploring the opportunities in the dairy industry in the country with a view to coming up with partnerships with Kenyan businessmen.
The Prime Minister briefed the Danish Minister on the progress made on the reform agenda noting that considerable progress had been made in realising Agenda Item Four of the National Accord which was signed in February last year, the other three having been achieved.
“We now want to fast track reforms in the Criminal Justice System in the country including in the Police, Judiciary, and State Law office and in the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr Odinga also talked about piracy off the coast of Somalia, noting that Kenya’s trade routes were under serious threat from pirates.
He observed that all ships sailing along the coast including those from Denmark were targets of pirate attacks and said Kenya was ready to collaborate with Denmark and the international community to end piracy in the Indian Ocean.
“We will work together with the international community to deal decisively with the menace of piracy in the Indian Ocean,” he emphasised.
Mr Odinga and Ms Ulla also talked about climate change noting that Denmark would host an international conference on climate change in December this year.
Noting that Kenya was coordinating African participation at the conference, the Danish Minister asked Kenya to be Africa’s voice on climate change.
The Prime Minister said that Africa had been a victim of activities undertaken elsewhere that had impacted negatively on the climate and so its voice must be heard at the December meet.