US says Kenya has redeemed its image

August 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, August 7 – American Ambassador Michael Ranneberger says the peaceful manner in which the referendum on the Constitution was carried out has restored Kenya\’s image internationally following the 2008 post-poll chaos.

He stated on Saturday that the process showed the maturity of Kenyans and set a precedence to be followed by other countries.

"Few countries in the world has carried out a constitutional referendum and fewer still have done it as well as Kenya so there is no image that it has enhance the image of Kenya," the US envoy told Capital news on an interview on Saturday.

"It also shows that Kenyans have matured especially in their appreciation of the democratic process. They learned in 2008.  During that year, there was a significant amount of manipulation by political forces," he added.

Speaking at his Muthaiga residence, Mr Ranneberger stressed that Kenyans will benefit a lot from the various provisions that have been put place in the new Constitution.

"It will also help to accelerate implementation reforms dealing with issues like the culture of impunity by creating a truly independent judiciary, by having police reforms for example and by eliminating the power of the presidency," he explained.
"This new Constitution will definitely have a profound impact since it will also eliminate negative ethnicity."

He emphasised the need for both the Yes and No teams to come together to iron out contentious issues in the new Constitution.

"It is clear that both sides want to talk with respects to implementation so I am sure that there will be discussions between the Yes and No sides," he said.

"The parliamentarians also know that they have a responsibility to carry out this implementation process as quickly as possible," he stated.

He expressed America\’s readiness to provide technical support to Kenya to assist in the implementation of the new Constitution.

Mr Ranneberger said that the passage of the Constitution signalled a milestone in Kenya\’s history and as such should be implemented as fast as possible.

"We will provide technical assistance on the implementation of the constitution but of course it is ultimately up to Kenya\’s Parliament to decide what laws need to be passed," he said and added that its adoption gave an indication of the strengthening of democracy in the country.

He especially lauded the Youth for coming out in large numbers to vote for the Constitution.

"The passage of the constitution was a major step forward for Kenyan democracy. We had made clear the US views that we consider the new Constitution crucial to the broader reform process," he said.

"However, ultimately, this was a decision for the Kenyan people. We congratulate everyone on the way that they exercised their democratic right."


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