Low marks for Kenya reform progress

June 30, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – Consultants hired by the African Union Panel of Eminent Personalities to monitor the coalition government’s performance say conflicts within the Government are undermining the reform agenda.

The South Consulting firm says in its quarterly report that laxity within the government has threatened the speed and nature of the general reform efforts including the attainment of a new constitution. 

Their report was presented to the National Mediation Team (Serena team) on Tuesday. It says the Permanent Committee on the Management of Coalition Affairs that was formed to resolve disputes remains underutilised.

“While the parties continued to share Cabinet positions in line with the power-sharing agreement, divisions between the two coalition partners had deepened, leading to disillusionment among the citizenry,” the report concluded.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi chaired Tuesday’s session to review the status of implementation of reforms for the first quarter of this year although only three out of the eight members were present.

“We still have not cleared issues to do with impunity while we still have challenges with the establishment of the local tribunal,” he said after the three-hour meeting.

A government delegation was expected to leave on Wednesday for Geneva for consultation with Chief Mediator Kofi Annan over efforts to establish the tribunal to try suspected perpetrators of post election violence. Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo will lead the team that includes Lands Minister James Orengo and Attorney General Amos Wako.

After meeting Mr Annan on Thursday, the team will proceed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague for consultations over the working of the court which is a fall back option if Kenya fails to form the tribunal.

“When I meet Annan I am going to give him the facts and also listen to him,” Mr Kilonzo said.

Mr Annan has given the government up to August to form the tribunal failure to which he will hand over the list of suspected perpetrators to the ICC but a section of legislators have remained defiant that they will block a second attempt to form the court.

Mr Mudavadi however said that the government had shown progress in both the land reforms and the attainment of a new constitution but added that more needed to be done to support these.

“A Committee of Experts has been established but we will need to go to the next stage of rolling it out,” he said.

With regard to Agenda Item One (Immediate action to stop violence and restore fundamental rights and liberties), the South Consulting report noted that political violence had generally stopped, but that gang or criminal violence and resource-based conflict had been on the increase. The team also expressed concerns over a number of Internally Displaced Persons who have continued to live in “transit” camps, where they have no access to services.

 The report also reviewed the status of implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on the 2007 elections (IREC) and the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV).  The report will be forwarded to the Permanent Committee on the Management of Coalition Affairs.


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