NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – “I came here with the mandate of the African Union and we will work for the government and the people of Kenya until the next election” – these were the words of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan as he concluded his two-day visit to Kenya which has been criticised by some politicians.
Annan who was accompanied by ex-Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa said he would not relent in helping Kenya in the Constitution implementation process, arguing that it was his assignment from the African Union after the 2008 post-election violence that left over 1,000 people dead and more than half a million others displaced.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta had taken a swipe at what he described as foreign meddling in Kenya’s affairs, saying they should now keep as their work concluded when they negotiated peace in the country.
But unbowed, Annan and Mkapa expressed concern over the low voter registration as they urged eligible Kenyans to enlist and participate in the next general election that is slated for March 4 next year.
Though he acknowledged efforts made by the government to ensure the voter registration process goes on well, he urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and other concerned bodies to engage in further active campaigns to encourage a higher turnout in order to meet the 18 million voters being targeted.
The two leaders also raised concern over the numerous insecurity incidences that Kenya has witnessed over the past few months.
In reference to the massacre of over 40 police officers in Baragoi, Samburu, the killing of soldiers in Garissa and the subsequent security operation as well as a bomb attack on a bus in Eastleigh, Annan said that security was a major challenge that requires ample consideration.
Annan chairs the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities which negotiated peace and a power sharing deal in February 2008. Graca Machel, the wife of African icon Nelson Mandela was also part of the team that began its sittings in January, 2008.
Under his chairmanship, the panel which is the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation team is expected by the AU to continue working with Kenya as it seeks to tackle the four agenda discussed during the mediation process between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement.
In view of the obligations delegated by the AU, Annan said he will not bow to pressure from accusations that he is meddling in the Kenyan affairs since his mission is not yet accomplished.