Kenyans must each take charge, says Kufuor

August 28, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 28 – Former Ghanaian President John Kufour has urged Kenyans to join hands and take individual responsibility in the implementation of the new Constitution.
In an exclusive interview with Capital News, Mr Kufour said each sector of the society should take its specific role in the implementation process that could take up to five years. He said Kenyans should not expect instant changes but should ensure they all shoulder responsibility and accountability in the process.
“The citizens should play their part of being responsible and assuming their duties of paying tax and abiding by the law,” he said. “They should also hold the representatives accountable. Kenyans should ensure that they elect leaders of integrity to the various positions… leaders who show genuine concern for the welfare of others.”
He called on civil society organisations to be vigilant in advocacy and at the same time challenged the media to lead in ensuring accountability including exposing ills of the society like corruption.
“Let people devote to accountability so that the office holders know that they cannot take the society for a ride.”
Mr Kufour joined Kenyans at the promulgation of the new Constitution at the Uhuru Park last Friday. He said he was delighted by the enthusiasm and optimism in the Kenyan people and hailed the commitment given by President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka in their speeches.
“The implementation might come with its own challenges and problems but what is needed is for the leadership at all levels to be true to the letter and spirit of the new constitution,” he said
He hailed the new Constitution for ensuring independence and separation of powers between the three arms of government and the envisaged devolution of power and resources.
“I urge for tolerance between all; among tribes, religions and the different ages. They should all feel as part of this country,” he noted.
Speaking of the role he played in the 2008 mediation process during the bloody post election violence, Mr Kufour said “we (Africans) looked at Kenya as the flagship nation of the continent and when I saw the situation here I had to do some quick thinking.”
The former President was the Chairman of the African Union when Kenya experienced the violence and appointed the former United Nations Chief Kofi Annan to mediate the crisis. He describes Mr Annan as “a natural servant of the people” and found it easy to convince him to mediate the crisis.
Mr Kufour said after the initial days, he supported the enactment of a new constitution as a way to address the underlying challenges affecting the country.
“I discovered the failure election system was just a trigger and that there we deep seated issues that needed to be addressed by constitutional and national systems such as land reforms. I got the feeling there we sections of society feeling they were marginalised,” he said.
Since his retirement close to two years ago the senior Statesman has been involved in various global peace and reform initiatives. He currently chairs the Inter-Peace, an organisation that helps countries coming out of conflict to use dialogue to achieve peace.
Mr Kufour recently led the African Union observer team at the Sudanese elections and the Common wealth observer team to the Malawian elections. He is also serves at a ten member commission formed to review the operations of the world back.
“Wherever I can express an opinion to better governance when I get an opportunity am trying to do it,” he said of his retirement engagements.
He said he supported the use of dialogue to solve the crisis in Sudan instead of the arrest of President Omar al Bashir.
“The initiative (dialogue) might prove to be lead to greater good than where if perhaps we had acted otherwise,” he said.


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