Taking stock, two years after Kenya accord

February 27, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – Two years since the National Accord was signed most people feel that it has not been implemented to the level that most Kenyans expected.

The international community has raised concerns that the reform agenda has moved at snail’s pace with the political class concentrating more on campaigns for the 2012 general election.

German Ambassador Margit Hellwig said: “Honestly speaking, maybe I was a bit naïve, because I was expecting the government to be already implementing the agreed programme of reforms.  What still amazes me today is the fact that Kenyan politicians are more concerned with campaigning for the next election.”

She said a lot still remained to be done yet there was no particular attention on reforms.

The ambassador also pegged her concerns on corruption, saying efforts to root it out had been stagnated as leaders had failed to take decisive action in their various capacities.

She also complained that the government was not keen to fight impunity due to the failure to establish a local tribunal to deal with the perpetrators of the 2007/2008 post election violence.

“Many other issues have not been tackled above all, fighting impunity. The efforts to establish a local tribunal were half-hearted and so far in vain. The International Criminal Court is still pondering over the Kenyan case and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission is under attack,” she said.

US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger also expressed similar sentiments on the reform agenda.

He said that although progress had been made, it was not encouraging enough to see no reforms were taking place on key issues.

“Much more remains to be accomplished. There must be decisive action urgently to combat the culture of impunity by taking bold steps to counter corruption, to hold accountable those responsible for post-election violence, to carry out judicial reform, and to reform of the Attorney General’s office. Much more must be done to foster national reconciliation and cohesion,” he said.

He also appealed to the leadership to ensure a new constitution with checks and balances to ensure power was not abused as well as protect interests of all groups across the country.

Mr Ranneberger further asked President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to work together and insulate themselves from political bickering, which threatens the coalition set up.

“Now is not the time for political posturing or precipitous actions. We urge the coalition leaders to work together within the letter and spirit of the National Accord, and to achieve broad consensus on the new draft constitution,” he said.

The ambassador said his government would not relent in pressuring the government to live to the expectations of the country and would also continue to support fundamental changes to boost the country’s development and democracy.

Civil society groups also feel that the government has a long way to go to satisfy the wishes of Kenyans, two years after the National Accord was signed.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights vice chairman Hassan Omar Hassan said the coalition government was less focused on working for Kenyans but more interested in retaining power.

“The mediation team put together a very robust framework to realise the fundamental areas of reforms, immediately after people got into their comfort zones after the power sharing deal and the announcement of a new cabinet, the country got into political bickering, witch-hunting, and an appetite to retain power,” he said. 

Mr Hassan urged the government to fast-track the promises made and fulfill them in the coming three years, when the national accord comes to an end.


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