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Raila chides west over reform demands

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has once again stated that Kenya will not take kindly to lectures from development partners over the perceived slow pace of reforms.

Mr Odinga on Saturday shed off the big brother syndrome of the West and said "Kenya was not under siege" as was the impression created in the past week that saw heightened international bashing.

The PM said that the country had made strides in reforming key institutions and the government remained committed to fully implementing remaining envisaged changes.

"We are ready to dialogue with our partners and benefactors but it has to be a dialogue. It is not a relationship of a master and a servant," he said while welcoming ‘constructive criticism.’

Kenya has found itself on the receiving end of criticism with claims that the government has reneged on the commitment to reforms. The United States sparked the onslaught one week ago by issuing warning letters to 15 prominent Kenyans that it claimed were frustrating the pace of reforms.

The British government too has threatened to take its own travel bans on ‘certain persons.’

The European Union also on Friday said it would in collaboration with other development partners devise steps to exert enough pressure for the acceleration of implementing the said reforms.

However the PM stressed that there were evident reforms and the government should be given credit for that. He cited the new electoral body, the Committee of Experts on Constitution, the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative plus the Judicial and Police taskforces as indications that the government was committed to change.

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"There is a lot that has been done. We need to compare the score card and see where we are, where we are slow and where we need to rectify; but not lectures," he said.

Mr Odinga added that the country had recorded immense infrastructural development and massive job creation.

The Premier welcomed the intended visit of the Chair of the African Panel of Eminent Persons and Chief Mediator Kofi Annan, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday. Mr Odinga, who is scheduled to hold consultations with the mediator, said the visit presents an opportunity to evaluate the progress of reforms in the country.

"We will meet with him and compare notes. We will be sharing with him what we have achieved so far, what we are doing and be able to benefit from his advice," he said.

Dr Annan’s four day visit will also see him hold deliberations with the civil society, Serena team and other senior government officials.

His visit comes barely days after the International Criminal Court officially said it would start trials for suspected perpetrators of post election violence after the government failed to meet the September deadline to set a local tribunal.

Besides the trial of the suspects the government also committed to institute far reaching reforms in the Judiciary, Police and the Office of the Attorney General. There are also envisaged land reforms and a commitment to eliminate corruption and create jobs for the youth.

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