More pressure for Kibaki, Raila on reforms

March 11, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – A visiting UK Minister has challenged both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to redouble their efforts to implement the agendas outlined under the National Accord.

Speaking after launching a simplified copy of the Waki report dubbed ‘Waki Mtaani’, British Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander said on Wednesday, that: “While I am conscious that there is dispute among the parties, I am confident that they can find consensus. And we are keen to see the principle recommendations of Kofi Annan’s work implemented.”

“We recognise that there are procedures that may need to be followed, we recognise that will require political leadership; but we believe that it is important that, that leadership is now revealed and taken forward in this important and challenging time,” he said.

Mr Alexander dismissed calls for a renegotiation of the Accord as a diversionary tactic, and said it was imperative to move forward on the reform agenda to build a more stable Kenya.

“While I am supportive of the dialogue that Kofi Annan is able to facilitate, the real test will be in the implementation of the recommendations.”

“Whether there is an individual meeting or discussion is not as significant as whether there is the implementation of the Annan recommendations. One of my messages here, when I have the opportunity to meet with members of the government, will be the importance the international community attaches to real and urgent progress being made to the Annan process.”

Mr Alexander later met with Prime Minister Raila Odinga where he emphasised the need for the government to urgently establish a local tribunal to deal with the perpetrators of the 2007 post election violence.

“Kenya today stands at crossroads, and time is not Kenya’s friend. It is therefore urgent for the whole political class to recognise the heavy responsibility to ensure there are no scars of the post election violence,” he said.

The UK Secretary said that the international community was paying attention to the UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s report on the extra judicial killings.

He said he extensively discussed Alston’s findings with the Prime Minister. “We have talked in detail about the serious and concerning findings of Alston, we have also spoken about an end to impunity.”

They also talked about the economic challenges facing the country following the global crisis.

Mr Odinga re-assured him of the government’s commitment to implement the National Accord, announcing that the government was keen to deal with corruption, impunity and the reform agenda.

He said he will soon update the country on the undertakings of the government in tackling corruption.

“We are equally concerned on the issues of extra judicial killings, dealing with victims of the post election violence, we are doing our best in some of those issues,” the PM said.

Mr Alexander is in the country for two days to view the work of DFID in the health sector as well as the UK`s support to improving governance in Kenya.

Meanwhile, he has also announced that his government will be donating Sh750 million (£5.5 million) to fight famine in Kenya and that they have contracted the World Food Programme (WFP) to carry out the programme.

“As a sign of our goodwill and as a sign of our continuing commitment to the people of Kenya, I announce an additional funding which will be allocated immediately to the World Food Programme to assist the people of Kenya overcome both with the challenges of drought and of the food crisis bedevilling this country today,” the visiting minister said.

He challenged the government to do all it could to combat hunger, which has already been declared a national disaster.

Mr Alexander said that his government had a commitment to contribute £50 million this year to support development in Kenya.

“Candidly, we would be in a position to give more and to show more support if we were to see the fundamental reforms to tackle the bribery, to tackle the corruption and to tackle the changes in governance that are necessary,” he said.

The DFID boss noted that his agency would continue to support efforts aimed at finding long-term solutions to food shortage in Kenya.


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