EU to fund civic education in Kenya

May 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The European Union (EU) has pledged to support civic education ahead of the Constitution referendum slated for August.

The EU said on Tuesday that it would fund the Committee of Experts on the exercise to ensure Kenyans were well informed on the contents of the proposed Constitution.

Addressing journalists after holding a meeting with a section of the Civil Society Organisations, EU Head of Delegation Eric van der Linden said they would not consider funding the ‘No’ camp for civic education.

“The civic education should be precise and neutral. Civic education should explain what is in the Constitution- take away the myths, take away the misleading information that some people ventilate so that the ‘wananchi’ on the day of the referendum know what they put their vote out for,” Mr Van Der Linden said.

He said the EU was neutral in the whole exercise and would neither support the ‘Yes’ nor the ‘No’ camp.

Ambassador of the Netherlands Laetitia van den Assum said there was need to have a level playing field so that Kenyans could make an informed choice.

“We do get the impression more and more that certain parties are spreading misinformation and the level generated at the moment throughout the country is very disconcerting,” she said.

“We would like to call on the government, IIEC and on others that have it within their powers to make sure that the level playing ground is there,” she added.

The Kenyan Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists Executive Director George Kegoro said it would be “depressing if a No vote passed in the referendum.”

“If you consider the agreements that were reached in the mediation process (after the post 2007 election violence), they included the establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission which at the moment is at an advanced stage of failure…..and an agreement to bring about constitutional reforms,” Mr Kegoro said.

He said if the country does not enact a new Constitution, nothing that was agreed upon in the mediation process led by Kofi Annan would have been achieved.

“It would be an indictment on the political leadership, on our country, to the commitments that we have made to ourselves and it would be an indication that we have forgotten far too quickly the serious problems we had as a country the other day,” he said.

Attorney General Amos Wako is expected to publish the draft constitution on Thursday.


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