, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – The Grand Coalition Government is confident that Kenyans will get a new Constitution during the forthcoming referendum scheduled to be held in August this year, President Kibaki has said.
In this regard, President Kibaki affirmed that a new constitution would herald the most important reform initiative for the Grand Coalition Government.
The President made the remarks during a media briefing at State House Nairobi on Tuesday after holding discussions with the visiting US Vice-President Joseph Biden, who pledged his country’s support for Kenya’s reform process.
During the occasion, President Kibaki appreciated the keen interest that President Barack Obama had shown in Kenya and thanked him for his support, goodwill and cooperation.
The Head of State particularly thanked the Government of the United States of America for the support extended to Kenya in order to achieve pertinent reforms and for accelerated economic development in the country.
The President said, “We have also expressed our appreciation for the US support in many areas of cooperation, especially in health, agriculture, and security. We have requested that assistance be extended to other sectors, including transport, housing, energy, and water.”
President Kibaki noted that the Coalition Government was keen on attracting American investors to take advantage of the enlarged East African Common Market poised to become in force next month.
He said: “The single market will allow free movement of people, goods, services, and capital throughout the five member countries that comprise Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.”
On regional matters, the President stated that there was urgent need to prioritise the stabilisation of the Somalia in order to secure regional peace and stability.
He noted that the two countries shared concern over the increased acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia and continued instability in Somalia caused by extremist groups.
The Head of State said: “This matter must be addressed with greater urgency. We have asked the US Government to provide leadership to forge a concerted international effort to stabilise Somalia.”
With regard to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Sudan, which the two nation acts as guarantors, President Kibaki said that the remaining parts of the agreement must be implemented, especially upholding of the outcome of the referendum scheduled to take place in January next year.
President said: “We have noted the recent elections in Sudan. We expect that the referendum planned for January next year will take place as scheduled. In our view, the best way of supporting Sudan’s internal stability, regional peace and prosperity is to respect the verdict of the people, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.”
Speaking during the occasion, the US Vice-President reaffirmed the US Government’s commitment to working closely with Kenya to deepen democracy and strengthen the rule of law in Kenya.
“We reaffirmed our commitment to advancing the projects for peaceful and prosperous future for Kenya,” the US Vice-President said.
Mr. Biden said he was personally impressed by President Kibaki’s and Prime Minister Odinga’s mutual co-operation and commitment to the reform agenda.
The Visiting US Vice-President also underscored the importance of the constitutional review process, saying the U.S. shared the wish of the people of Kenya for a peaceful referendum that will deliver a new constitution that will unite Kenyans and accelerate the country’s reform agenda.
Echoing US President Barack Obama’s sentiment, Mr Biden said the upcoming constitutional referendum is the singular opportunity to put Kenyan governance on a more solid footing that can place the country on the path of economic prosperity.
The US Vice-President said by Kenya putting in place a new constitution and strengthening the democratic institutions, it will further open the door to major American development programs such as the millennium challenge and bring about more investments by American corporations and international organisations.
In attendance were Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi, Cabinet Ministers Prof George Saitoti, Moses Wetangula and Mutula Kilonzo among others.