Kenya PM allays violence fears

May 19, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday assured donors that Kenya would not experience violence after the August 4 referendum.

He allayed fears that an outbreak of violence reminiscent to events that characterised the aftermath of the 2007 general election was likely to erupt.

The PM said campaigns on the proposed constitution would be carried out modestly to ensure leaders do not divide Kenyans.

"I don’t expect the kind of widespread or systemic violence that you are fearful of; I want to assure you that government will do everything possible to prevent any form of violence," he said.

Addressing foreign envoys at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, the Prime Minister also assured that the government had put in place adequate measures to ensure a peaceful consultative process.

“We will not deepen the wedge between those who support and those who oppose through our campaigns, on the contrary our aim is to unite the country through the entire process of constitution making.”

Donors have in the meantime called for the establishment of a referendum security committee comprising the Police, Interim Independent Electoral Commission, as well as National Integration and Cohesion Commission.

Mr Odinga further reassured Cabinet Ministers spearheading the rejection of the proposed Constitution that they would not be victimised.

He said: "You will have heard some people calling on us to sack the ministers who are championing the No campaign and we have said no, they have a democratic right to oppose the draft Constitution and we have also said we are going to give them full protection at all their meetings and consultations to champion the No course."

Various leaders have recently urged the President and PM to fire all ministers opposed to the proposed Constitution accusing them of dishonesty after both Parliament and Cabinet had endorsed the document.

At the same time, the Premier informed the consultative forum which was attended by leading foreign missions in the country that the government was not relenting on the war on corruption and impunity.

“The new Constitution will give us fresh and firm foundation to end the culture of impunity and entails radical institutional reforms in the Judiciary, police and substantially strengthen the capacity of the State law office,” he said.
He also clarified that five Permanent Secretaries sent on three months’ compulsory leave to pave way for investigations into the maize and the education scandals, were yet to be officially cleared of any wrong doing.

The Premier said that the government was waiting for investigation reports from the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission before making a decision on their fate.

“I made clear to Permanent Secretaries that once they lose public confidence they can no longer serve the public and must step aside until the confidence in them is fully restored,” he asserted.

He said a case study in the maize scandal raised serious concerns over marketing systems and invited the donors to make their suggestions to a team of experts working on comprehensive mechanism aimed at rooting out avenues for malpractices in the sector.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed