NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that Kenya has lost momentum since the signing of an accord between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga a year ago, that led to the formation of the Coalition government.,
In a message sent to newsrooms from abroad on Saturday, Mr Annan said it was necessary for Kenya to implement constitutional and institutional changes, land reforms, and reduce the huge gap between the rich and the poor.
“One year after the signing of the power-sharing accord Kenyans are feeling frustrated at the slow pace of change. I can understand those sentiments. The root causes of last year’s crisis need to be comprehensively addressed if the country is to avoid a repeat of the violence,” he stressed.
Mr Annan singled out reforms agreed under Agenda Item Four of the National Dialogue, which remain unresolved.
“These include constitutional and institutional reforms, land reform, and reducing the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots,” the chairman of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities observed.
He said that other priorities include creating more jobs for the youth, equal access to opportunities, promoting ethnic harmony, ending the culture of impunity, and promoting transparency and accountability.
“I urge the political leadership to listen to the voices of the people and expedite the effective implementation of the National Dialogue agreements.”
He said this would require renewed determination and greater unity of purpose.
“For it is only through such leadership that politicians can retain the support of the people.”
Mr Annan urged Kenyan citizens, the clergy, entrepreneurs, professional associations and NGOs to remain vigilant by maintaining pressure on politicians to act decisively on the much needed changes.
“To my Kenyan friends, let me say this: while I understand your frustrations, we must all acknowledge that fundamental reforms involve difficult decisions. On this day, let us not forget the horror that Kenya lived through early last year.”
He said that it was important for all Kenyans to recall the words of the agreement signed by President Kibaki and Mr Odinga on the steps of Harambee House one year ago today.
In it, the two leaders acknowledged that the formation of the Coalition Government was not an end in itself.
“They agreed that the primary goals of the Coalition were to begin the healing and reconciliation process, to promote the greater interest of the nation as a whole, and to set the country on a new path towards lasting peace and sustainable development.”
He added: “On this day, and in the crucial weeks and months ahead, let us strive to revive the hopes of the Kenyan people that these crucial objectives will be attained.”