, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – Chief Mediator Kofi Annan has challenged Kenya’s political leadership to revive the momentum of reforms to support the implementation of the new Constitution.
Dr Annan said the momentum for reform must not be allowed to slow down especially with race against time to the 2012 elections.
“People are saying there is momentum but it appears like it is not be moving,” he said during the opening session of the 2nd Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation meeting.
Dr Annan said: “If we lose the momentum it will slow down the good intentions we have. Good Intentions must be turned into tangible progress in the lives of Kenya’s citizens.”
The former UN secretary general said although the President and the Prime Minister had set an example of regularly consulting and jointly setting out policy on important national matters, this must be cascaded down to Cabinet Ministers and Parliament.
“It is important that members of the coalition government resolve their differences systematically and prevent the spillover of disputes into the public domain,” he said.
Dr Annan underscored the need to fully implement the new Constitution which he said has “a progressive Bill of Rights and devolved governance structure critical for moving the country forward.”
“The Constitution is the beginning, not the end. The challenge now lies with its implementation,” he said.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga affirmed the commitment to fully implement the Constitution “which represents the beginning of a new dawn and the birth of a second republic.”
“We will face challenges because that is part of life. I can however assure you that we are doing everything possible to have the Constitution fully implemented. There will be bumps and rocky parts but as long as we remain focused we will achieve,” he told those at the meeting including Cabinet Ministers, diplomats and civil society representatives.
Mr Odinga emphasised unity within the coalition government saying they had found a way of working together with the President.
“At times we had standoffs until we found a way of relating with each other at the top,” he said of his relationship with the President.
On evaluating how far the country has progressed over the last two years, he said Kenya was firmly on the right path to the implementation of the Agenda 4 items identified by the mediation team.
“We are perched on the cast of history ready for takeoff. The plane has left the parking bay gone to the runway and it has begun moving. It has reached a point of no return… it has to take off,” he affirmed.
Earlier, Dr Annan expressed concerns over the search for justice for post election violence. He was concerned that “too little has been done to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Impunity, he said has not been dealt with.
“The ICC does not supplant the authority of national courts. It is a court of last resort. Bringing to justice those responsible… is essential to help Kenya heal its wounds and prevent such crimes from being committed again.”
The PM however introduced an interesting twist to the search for justice saying “the probe should follow those who messed the 2007 elections that resulted to the violence.”
“Let’s not lose sight of the cause of the violence. Lets us deal with those who messed the elections,” he said.
The two-day meeting will review the progress of the coalition government two years on and recommend ways to accelerate reforms.