Up your game, Kenya speaker tells leaders

July 23, 2009 12:00 am

, WASHINTON D.C, Jul 23 – Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende on Thursday challenged the country’s political leadership to step up and take charge of dealing conclusively with impunity and the suspects of post election violence.

Speaking at a conference titled “Kenya on the Brink: Democratic Renewal or Deepening Conflict?” held in Washington D.C, Mr Marende said Kenyans were awaiting enactment of a credible and incorruptible process to try and punish those who have committed atrocities against their fellow countrymen.

“I will listen to the thoughts of the panelists on what the political leadership must do to vanquish the deployment of the ethnicity card for political ascendancy, corruption and insecurity,” the Speaker said.

His statement comes after the Cabinet failed on two occasions to reach a consensus on whether suspects accused of organising and funding militias during the last election will be tried in Kenya.

On the other hand, MPs from across the political divide have vowed to block the Bill seeking to try post poll offenders locally when it’s brought to Parliament, saying they feared manipulation from the Executive.

The MPs argued that in trying to push a local tribunal, the Justice Minister was wasting time insisting that they want the suspects, including ministers be taken the International Criminal Courts at The Hague.

He told the conference organised by National Endowment for Democracy that unlike Parliament which has been responsive to addressing the reform agenda other government arms have been slow in making the turn in bringing about urgent, institutional and democratic reform.

The Speaker said majority of Kenyans were sceptical and were watching keenly to see how the efforts of Parliament in driving Kenya to reclaim its rightful place in the community of nations can be enhanced.

He said he is optimistic that the constitutional review process will be brought to fruition.

Mr Marende said Kenyans were also watching to see how the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission will be safeguarded from the vagaries of partisan politics.

“I will listen to how the National Cohesion Commission and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be enabled to work to achieve their objectives as the country walks this path of recovery and rehabilitation,” said Mr Marende.

At the same time, he appealed to the US Government to assist Kenya in finding solutions to corruption, governance and human rights related issues instead of censuring.
“America has in the recent past, from the highest level of its Government isolated Kenya for censure over corruption, inept governance and human rights related issues bordering on impunity which we have taken in full measure and urge that you, our longstanding friends, come to our aid even as we take the primary responsibility to do so,” he added.

During his visit to Ghana, US President Barack Obama used Kenya as an example of an African country where leaders had failed to fight corruption.

"No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery," said the US leader.

Mr Marende said: “We are not prepared to have the US become part of the problem. You remain our most ardent critic because as a matter of fact you are our brothers and sisters in many respects.”


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