, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger has urged eligible Kenyans to register as voters in the ongoing exercise.
Speaking to Capital News, the envoy said it is important that Kenyans participate in the country’s democratic process to ensure their views and preferences are represented.
“The future of this country is in your hands; if you don’t register to vote you can’t influence that future. It is important for people to get out there and register – especially young people,” he asserted.
Mr Ranneberger called on the country to shed the yokes of the 2008 post election violence and cultivate hope as they forge ahead to a peaceful new Kenya by participating in the forthcoming referendum and national elections.
He called on Kenyans to support the proposed constitution at the referendum, saying it was one of the major reforms the country needed.
“The stakes are very high in respect to this referendum; I have reviewed the document in great detail and it’s not perfect, but again even in the US it is not perfect. No constitution is perfect, we have heard 27 amendments and more are coming, it will be wrong to vote against the draft because of one or two issues,” he said.
Mr Ranneberger appreciated that the draft had many important and supportive laws especially on promoting Kenya’s governance due to the proposed checks and balances.
He also highlighted the independence awarded to judicial systems in the country, transparency and accountability as well as devolution, some of the issues that Kenya has been lacking in its systems for many years.
He said there is a procedure for amendments after the referendum urging those opposed to it to look at the many pertinent and basic issues it was addressing instead of focusing on very few non issues that could be changed later.
Though he recognised that a new constitution was not the only solution to Kenya’s challenges, the US envoy said it would form the foundation of implementing many other reforms.
He further reminded Kenyans that rejecting the new draft meant reverting to the current draft which contains most of the issues they are opposed to and worse of all draconian laws.