Annan blasts tribal Kenyan leaders

December 8, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – Chief Mediator Kofi Annan has expressed concern over what he terms as continued perpetuation of ethnic divisions in the country which are undermining the pace of reforms.

Annan said on Tuesday that despite government efforts in institutional reforms, 2012 politics were likely to compromise the pace.

“We have all seen politicians who travel around the country making pronouncements which are not conducive to ethnic harmony. It is as if 2007 did not happen! It is politics as usual; appealing to ethnic and tribal interests. We need to put that behind us and learn from what happened in 2007,” he said.

“Politicians should also know that Kenyans have changed and they understand much more about what is happening politically.”

At a press briefing following a six-day visit, fellow panelist Graca Machel said reforms alone will not work unless reconciliation and national cohesion are prioritised.

“The work will not be done if it is does not trickle down to embrace every citizen of this country to engage in a process of mutual acceptance, mutual respect and living together recognising the rights of everyone,” she said.

Ms Machel repeatedly rallied Kenyans and interest groups to drive the reform agenda and push for its realisation saying that Kenya cannot contemplate failure.

“No one in this country, in this continent, in the world can expect the events of 2008 to happen again; the package of the reform agenda is actually a firm indication that never again. And it should be kept in mind and it’s not ‘either-or’ it just has to happen,” she added.

Mr Annan said ethnicity was threatening to derail national healing.

Read Mr Annan’s full statement here.


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