, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – Visiting former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday held talks with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
He expressed concern that a large part of the Kenyan population risked being disenfranchised in the forthcoming referendum due to lack of Identity Cards.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga told the media that he assured him that the government had facilitated the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) to ensure all eligible voters in the country were registered.
But Mr Odinga said the May 22 deadline for the new registration was not enough, “The IIEC should not limit itself to the 45-day timeline, and the registration period can be extended to give everyone a chance to register as a voter.”
He appealed to Kenyans above the age of 18 to obtain identity cards and register as voters.
He further said the government was already issuing identity cards to eligible Kenyans across the country.
During the talks at his Treasury office the Premier also assured Mr Annan that the draft Constitution would sail through Parliament and said that MPs were committed to delivering a new Constitution to Kenyans this year.
Corruption which has been a major subject in Mr Annan’s meetings also emerged during the discussions with Mr Odinga.
He reinstated that the government was committed to fight it across all levels in the country.
The Prime Minister also told the mediator that the coalition government was working together just a day after religious leaders told Mr Annan there was no unanimity in implementing the National Accord.
Mr Annan later held talks with Speaker of the National Kenneth Marende and the civil society before meeting President Kibaki at his Harambee House office.
During the meeting President Kibaki and Mr Annan also discussed the progress of the Grand Coalition Government towards implementation of the reform agenda as spelt out in the National Accord.
The president maintained that the government was committed in implementing institutional and legal reforms in view of the constitution which is already before Parliament.
He also shared the same sentiments with Mr Odinga and expressed confidence that Kenyans will go to referendum and deliver a new constitution this year.
He also reassured Mr Annan that the registration of voters will be completed before referendum.
Mr Annan commended the Government for the progress made so far towards national cohesion and encouraged leaders to support efforts to create a stable and prosperous nation and also urged Kenyan leaders to remain focused to give the country a new constitution.
Mr Annan is expected to leave the country on Friday after his four day visit in the country.