LONDON, Aug 8 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked the international business community to recognise the changes that have taken place in Kenya since 2008 and have faith that the country will not erupt into chaos again after the next elections.
Odinga told investors from various companies led by the Renaissance Capital group who met him in London that since the 2007-2008 election related chaos, Kenya has undergone a painful but necessary rebirth.
The PM appealed to the investors not to fear moving into Kenya just because there is an election coming.
He challenged the business community not to exaggerate the possibility of Kenya erupting into chaos again.
He said the changes instituted in Kenya are deeper than any African country has done and should ensure that all future elections are free and peaceful.
The changes, he said, will also ensure that the justice system can be trusted to handle election related disputes should any arise and also deal firmly with cases of corruption and impunity that have plagued Kenya.
The PM pointed at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Political Parties Act, the Leadership and Integrity Act, the restructuring and reform of the Judiciary and reform of the Police as some of the steps that will ensure future elections are free and fair.
“I know elections continue to elicit fear and anxiety that there may be a repeat of what happened in 2007-2008. I want to give an assurance that it will never happen again,” the PM told business leaders who met him at his hotel.
He said reforms in the Judiciary and Police will ensure the justice system is trusted not only to handle election matters but also property disputes.
He said the country has followed the constitution and saw the previous Chief Justice and Attorney General leave office, then embarked on recruitment of new judges and vetting of old ones.
“In 2008, we had no confidence in the Judiciary. We have worked to restore confidence by appointing a new Chief Justice and a new Attorney General. Old judges are being vetted and some are getting removed. The vetting in the Judiciary is real. It is not cosmetic. People have been sent home. There will be a stable Kenya after elections,” the PM said.
The business leaders from various sectors including energy, investment funds and infrastructure met Odinga for a one-to-one question session during which they sought answers on areas ranging from dispute resolution, upcoming elections and upgrading of the country’s infrastructure, particularly the airports.
The PM said Kenya’s economy is upbeat, with inflation down to about 7 percent. He said the country’s real estate market is currently rated as the most vibrant in the world.
He said that although many parties will be competing in the 2013 elections, the race will largely be between two individuals.
The PM said he believes most of the parties will die after failing to make impact in 2013, making future election a contest between two or three.
The PM is in London for the Olympics and is scheduled to meet Kenyan athletes later on Wednesday and to visit Kenya House where the country’s potential is being put on display.