Envoy pleads for speedy Kenya reforms

June 24, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – Outgoing German Ambassador Walter Lindner has once again appealed to the coalition government to speed up the reform process.

Speaking at his farewell party at the US Ambassador’s residence on Tuesday night, he acknowledged that progress was being made though at a much slower pace than expected.

“I am not very happy with the speed of the process, if I stay in the country longer, I would be sometimes running out of patience. We have to show some results, this is something I am disappointed with as I leave the country,” he said.

Long term measures of land, constitutional, police, electoral and judicial reforms among others are the key changes agreed on during the mediation talks in early 2008.

Mr Lindner also took the chance to urge the government to improve its efforts to root out graft in the country.

He said it is unfair that only few people benefit from Kenyan resources while the majority are languishing in poverty.

The Ambassador, who has been in the country for three and half years, leaves the country late July and will be replaced by Margit Hellwig-Boette who is due in Kenya by August.

He said he was sad to leave the country but promised to keep a close watch on the progress of the reform process.

The envoy also said his wish is that Kenyan politicians especially those in government would focus on the development agenda and stop concentrating on the 2012 General Election.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti who attended the party re-assured of the government’s commitment to implement the reform process.

He also appealed for support to the coalition government, saying any differences among members were normal.

The Minister further said that he was positive the coalition government would last.

“The coalition will not break, don’t listen to the pessimists, its true we quarrel… even at home wife and husband quarrel but they are together in the evening,” he said.
Prof Saitoti recognised Mr Lindner’s role during the 2007 post election violence and also for offering his ideas on the formation of the coalition government.

He called the German envoy a true friend to Kenya, who had strengthened ties between the two countries.

Mr Lindner’s colleague and close friend US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger said he believed that the German would continue assisting the coalition government despite his departure from the country.

Mr Ranneberger said that he was happy that they teamed up to criticise and help Kenya recover especially after the 2007 election crisis and the mediation process.

“We spoke out together because we wanted to see fundamental change for Kenya. Despite losing a very close friend, I will continue to speak out because all we wanted is what is best for Kenya.”

The two ambassadors have however been accused severally by politicians for meddling in Kenyan affairs.

Mr Lindner will return to his country to serve as a crisis coordinator in Berlin for two years. He is also expected to play a crucial role in the German general election slated for September this year.


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