, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga is calling on troubled African countries to embark on Kenyan-style far reaching reforms of constitutions and institutions to safeguard future stability.
Reflecting on the experiences in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the PM said periodic elections alone are not enough to guarantee stability.
Speaking during discussions with South Africa\’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at his office on Thursday, the PM said he was confident the grand coalition government would deliver on all areas of Agenda Four, ahead of 2012 elections.
"Reforms are key to resolving most of the problems bedevilling Africa. Most of our constitutions give room for abuses of institutions and laws as was witnessed here and in Zimbabwe. Most African countries need to embark on massive reforms covering land, security agencies and the judiciary," the PM said.
He said most conflicts in Africa tend to have similar origins, including disparities in development and negative ethnicity, which cannot be solved simply by holding elections.
The PM emphasised that the Kenya coalition was committed to implementing the Agenda Four items saying President Kibaki and himself have found a formula for working together.
"Once we committed to sign the Accord, we had a responsibility to ensure it works. Everyone here is agreed that there should never be a repeat of what happened in 2007," the PM said.
Mr Motlanthe on his part congratulated the government and the people of Kenya for passing a new Constitution which he said would consolidate stability and create a sound environment for business.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed developments in Zimbabwe, Sudan and Somalia. They expressed concern that new elections in Zimbabwe without fundamental reforms would likely produce the same results as the last one.
The Zimbabwe elections that President Robert Mugabe announced two weeks ago are to take place next year. They are seen to be a result of the failure by the coalition to work together.
About two weeks ago, Mugabe announced that Zimbabwe\’s unity government should dissolve within months, and called calling for elections next year despite stalled efforts at political reform.
They expressed concern that without a new voter\’s roll and a truly independent electoral commission, Zimbabwe elections would not amount to much.
On Sudan, the two leaders said they are keen on a peaceful and timely referendum. The PM appealed to South Africa to take keen interest in developments in the Sudan.
The PM also appealed to South Africa to open its market to Kenyan investors and products. He said investors have complained that they have difficulties penetrating the South African market due to stiff tariffs.