Take charge, US tells Kenyan leaders

April 9, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger has urged President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to take charge of the country and end the continued wrangling among the coalition partners.

The envoy said that was the only way to bring the necessary reforms the country had been yearning for.

Mr Ranneberger stated that politicians should use the events following the December 2007 polls to put the interests of Kenyans ahead of their own.

“There must be action taken. I think that a number of politicians felt that once this coalition government was formed, it would be back to business as usual,” he said. “But it’s not business as usual. Kofi Annan is not going away. We are not going away and the Kenyan people are not accepting that message.”

He was speaking during a peace rally in Nakuru where he encouraged the youth to pursue peace when differences among them occur.

“The youths are sending a message now that the time for exploitation is over, we gave you a chance to do what you said you were going to do,” he said.

Mr Ranneberger expressed concern over the increased exchange of words between leaders in the grand coalition government and said that it was impacting negatively on the reform process thus affecting the lives of Kenyans.

He urged politicians to desist from such action and instead apply themselves to provide services to Kenyans.

 “There is increasing concern on the part of the international community and the Kenyan people that the whole reform process is in danger of stalling,” he observed. “At the same time, we see the top level of government squabbling with each other at a time when they should be focusing on doing business.”

He further called on leaders not to dismiss chief negotiator Kofi Annan’s efforts to bring reforms in the country.

“We do not want to see the reform process stall and in this connection I want to make myself clear that we are one hundred percent supportive of Kofi Annan’s continued engagement in the process,” he explained.

He also lauded the youth for putting politicians to task over reforms in the country.

The American envoy said that such initiatives by the youth would ensure that the country moves forward in tackling issues of importance.

“The youth in this country want to see real change, not the same old business as usual. They want to see real progress in the reform agenda. They want to see constitutional reforms and electoral reforms,” he stated.

Mr Ranneberger underscored the need to put in place a new Constitution and institute reforms in the Judiciary.

He urged both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to take the initiative by instituting the necessary reforms.


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