, WASHINGTON, Aug 5 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday joined other members of the international community and praised Kenyans for turning out in large numbers to hold a peaceful vote on a new Constitution.
She gave her remarks after the "yes" camp in Kenya\’s referendum for a new constitution declared victory on Thursday following a ballot that belied fears of a repeat of the chaos that marred the nation\’s last elections.
"This was the first time Kenyans have participated in a poll since the violence that followed the disputed 2007 election," Clinton told reporters as she stood next to Nigeria\’s visiting Foreign Minister Henry Odein Ajumogobia.
"Constitutional reform is the centerpiece of the reform agenda that Kenya has adopted for itself. It is aimed at addressing the underlying causes of violence," she said.
"I commend the people of Kenya for participating in large numbers and for exercising their right to vote in a peaceful manner," she said.
"It appears two-thirds of Kenyans have voted in favor of their constitution," she said, while still noting that the official results were still not in.
"This is an indication that a very strong majority of Kenyans have voted for fundamental change," she said.
"We urge supporters of both sides of the constitutional debate, and in fact we urge all Kenyans to reach out to each other, to work together after this referendum to support Kenya\’s democratic institutions," she said.
And in Nairobi, the international community roundly hailed the country for successful outcome of the referendum.
“As an international community we congratulate the people of Kenya for the successful referendum. This is a historic event for a country for a country and a landmark in reform agenda which demonstrates the commitment of the government to fundamental legal and political change.” Eric Van Linden read statement on behalf of EU and other foreign missions.
“Above all we applaud the active participation of the citizens of Kenya in the process and the great level of public engagement displayed.”
“We will support government, Civil society and the people of Kenya to work together to promote tolerance and cohesion,” the statement fu
“We stand ready to continue supporting Kenya in the implementation of the new constitution and the overall reform agenda,” Eric van Linden said.
“This is been obviously a great day for Kenya. I think very few countries in the world have gone through a constitutional referendum of this magnitude and very few have done it as well. Kenya has shown the world how to do it.” American ambassador said.
“We want to compliment the people of Kenya on a democratic process which has been efficient, credible and transparent,” “We compliment the IIEC for the job well done. This is a victory for Kenyans,” Rannenberger said.
Rob Macaire of UK said: “What we have seen is a process that has been calm, that has bee peaceful and well organised. I would like to pay tribute to people of Kenya for how they have conducted themselves and the IIEC.”
“It is a reminder of how far Kenya has come in the last two and half years ago years ago since the last election which brought so much suffering to many people.”