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Israel prods Kenya on reforms

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – Israel has added its voice in asking the Kenyan government to speed up the reform agenda.

Israeli Ambassador to Kenya Jacob Keidar told Capital News that it was important for the country to address issues that led to the post election violence.

Though he recognised some effort had been made on reforms he said: “Some say you don’t have this privilege of waiting for changes and reforms and I agree with that, in some areas we see commitment but we should see quicker pace. It takes time but it should not take too much time.”

He further said corruption, impunity and other vices that challenge peace in the country should be fixed before the next general election.

Mr Keidar emphasised on other important requirements that he said required urgent attention.

He viewed security and peace as top priority areas that he thought the government should be keen on to give Kenyans and its visitors the confidence and safety of being in the country.

“To draw from examples in my government, there are few things that should be part of any government system – security is a key thing.” he said.

The diplomat also stressed on clarity and observance of rule of law in the country.

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He said the culture of impunity should be shaken off by ensuring criminals are punished and victims get justice.

At the same time he urged the government to double its efforts to restore ample security to make Kenya attractive for its citizens, visitors and investors.

He however commended the country for the peace progress made following the post election violence but encouraged the leadership to be keen on ensuring a new Constitution is achieved on time.

On disaster management and preparedness, the envoy acknowledged that some progress had been made although he said it was an ongoing process that would take time.

He said Kenya had realised the necessity of coming up with disaster teams across the country to ensure efficient response.

He also commended the government for developing a similar notion in different hospitals since disaster preparedness is about having functional teams also in health centres to treat victims.

Well known for its efficient response to disasters, Mr Keidar said Israel intends not just to support Kenya during disasters but also orient them on having a self sustaining response system.

“If it’s floods, buildings collapsing or other disasters, response should not only come when the need is here, but also to help Kenya to have some expertise of its own,” he said.

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