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Kenya reforms on course, says PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – The committee on the management of the Grand Coalition government retreats this weekend to strategise on a roadmap for key reforms envisaged in Agenda Item Four.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said in an interview on Wednesday that the meeting was meant to bring together senior members of the coalition government to come up with a definite framework for the much needed reforms.

"We are going to work out a timetable on how some of these measures would be undertaken. Come next week, we will be able to tell you clearly the bench marks and timelines of how these reforms will be carried out," he said.

Agenda Item Four envisages police, judicial, land and electoral reforms as long-term solutions to avert a repeat of the crisis experienced in the aftermath of the 2007 general election.

However the government’s commitment and pace on these reforms has remained under heavy scrutiny.

Mr Odinga signed the peace accord with President Mwai Kibaki in February 2008 agreeing to share power following the disputed Presidential election results. A total of 1,133 people lost their lives while more than 300,000 were displaced from their homes.

Chief mediator Kofi Annan has on several occasions slammed the government for its fading commitment. His comments have been echoed by the international community and the civil society.

In January, Parliament rejected an attempt to institute a Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of the post election violence as recommended by the Waki Commission into the Post election Violence.

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Another attempt to form an interim electoral body hit a snag when lawmakers rejected the nomination of city lawyer Cecil Miller as chairman. The parliamentary committee on Legal Affairs was expected to meet on Thursday for a second attempt to gain consensus on the nominee to chair the IIEC.

Mr Odinga however maintained that despite the hiccups encountered in setting up the Special Tribunal and the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, the government was committed and was on course in the implementation of the reforms.

"We are hoping that when we bring the Bill before the House, opinions will have changed and we will be able to set up the local tribunal," the Premier said, but cautioned that the Executive should not be blamed in the event that Parliament rejected the tribunal.

 Mr Odinga said that a land policy that has been pending before Cabinet since early last year will be discussed in next week’s meeting before being forwarded to Parliament for enactment.

The Premier further added that a team that will spearhead reforms in the police force and Judiciary was being assembled despite resistance from the Chief Justice and the Police Commissioner.

"Don’t listen to what the Chief Justice is saying and don’t listen to the Police Commissioner because they are the ones who are in the dock," he said.


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