Kenya still under EU scrutiny over reforms

July 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – Kenya is continuously under pressure to implement the reform agenda with the European Commission saying it was closely monitoring its progress.

Outgoing Swedish Ambassador Anna Brandt on Wednesday acknowledged that progress was being made albeit at a slow pace.

“We recognise that progress has been made but we believe that urgent and decisive action is needed to ensure full and timely implementation of the reforms set out in the National Accord,” she said.

Ms Brandt emphasised on the importance of Kenya to fight corruption, impunity and block re-occurrence of the 2007 post poll violence.

Extra-judicial killings which has been at the centre of controversy following a report by UN Special Rapporteur Prof Philip Alston was also another aspect that the ambassador asked for particular attention to boost respect for human rights in Kenya.

Head of European Commission Delegation to Kenya Eric van der Linden expressed concerns that politicians including government officials had drawn their focus on 2012.

“It is unfortunate that the leaders were busy preparing themselves for the general election instead of concentrating on pressing issues such as insecurity, unemployment and poverty which seem to worsen everyday,” he said.

Mr Linden appealed to Kenyans to hold their leaders accountable and ensure they live up to their promise to serve them as opposed to personal interests.

“Kenya has the potential to change its economy and reduce poverty if its resources are used for the purposes they are meant for,” the envoy said.

Mr Linden said 2015 was only a few years away yet the country was far from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. But he acknowledged that there was still time for the leaders to revamp the economy.

“The country has what it takes to be a star in economy, the tourism, landscape, agriculture, you have important resources that can create jobs and bring down poverty,” he noted.

Though corruption affects all countries in the world, he said Kenya’s corruption was more complicated due to lack of strong institutions to instill discipline and make people aware that they will face the law if they steal public resources.

“Corruption is also in my country; the only difference is that in my country chances of being in court are higher than in Kenya. Such institutions are important,” he said.

The envoy appealed to President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to be ready to make sacrifices and go beyond their political camps to steer the reform process and put the interest of people ahead of their political affiliations.

He also noted the Mau Forest issue had been trivialised by politicians despite the threats it paused on the environment.

The two envoys were addressing the press at the assumption of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union.

Sweden promised to support war-torn Somalia during its six months of leadership of the EU.

Swedish Ambassador for the Somali Peace Process Joran Bjallerstedt said only Algeria, Italy and US had honoured their pledges to meet the $213 million promised by donors in Brussels in April.

Mr Bjallerstedt also said that the Al Shabab militia group was not a serious threat since they were fragmented. He believed it was possible for peace to be restored in Somalia.

“They have no structures; they have no vision because even if they take over they don’t know what to do. They have no proper communication, also people of Somalia don’t want extremism which they are using,” he noted.

Since May this year over 100,000 Somalis have fled the capital Mogadishu and hundreds of others have died and tension in the country still remains high.


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