Envoys praise ruling by Kenyan Speaker

April 29, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – The American, British and German governments have supported Tuesday’s ruling by the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende on chairmanship of the House Business Committee.

US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger said at a joint news conference that politicians should emulate Mr Marende by putting aside their personal interests and concentrating on serving Kenyans.

“His decision keeps Parliament functioning and provides basis for Parliament to move on with its agenda.  This is not the time for personal politics,” he said.

He urged the political class – especially those in government – to consider the Speaker’s ruling: “The speaker has spoken and his word is final… we want to see both sides of the coalition support his decision and work in a constructive spirit to sort out the differences in the coalition government.”

Mr Ranneberger appealed to politicians to give attention to the reform agenda as a matter of urgency to move the country forward in the healing process after the 2007 post-poll violence.

He also reminded politicians that the National Accord was part of the constitution.  “There is no conflict; they are one the same, the emphasis is true power sharing within the Executive and calls on parties to respect that and so do we.”

His German counterpart Walter Lindner and British envoy Rob Macaire used the opportunity to caution leaders against calls for snap elections.

They said the country had not yet healed and could not afford another election before looking at outstanding issues that led to the post election violence.

While admitting that a coalition government was complex, Mr Lindner said it was the best and only option that would restore peace.

He said snap elections could not resolve the differences asking those in government to ensure that the coalition works since that was the only good thing for the country.

“Coalitions are not attractive… approval rates go down.  A coalition was the only solution that brought this country out of that terrible situation, we have no alternative and snap election is not an option,” he said.

Mr Lindner also pointed out there was no an electoral body in place, no budget for an election and neither had the problem that led to the 2007crisis been resolved.

Mr Macaire said most of the responsibility to move the country forward was in the hands of Parliament and asked Members of Parliament to unselfishly work to put in place long term measures that would completely heal the country.

But he asked Kenyans to also recognise and appreciate that had been achieved so far.

He said the coalition government had managed to make progress in development and commitment in working on the reform agenda even though not to expect levels.

Mr Ranneberger also asked Kenyans not to give up and expressed content at the undying faith of the Kenyan people.

He said despite the challenges, most Kenyans still hope for a better future and have worked hard to improve the situation.

“Yes people might be disappointed with the government but they are not losing hope on Kenya.  I am impressed as I see more people developing youth programs; new leadership is emerging beyond ethnic backgrounds,” he said.


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