Kenyans quietly mark first anniversary of new law

August 27, 2011 11:48 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – Kenyans quietly marked the first anniversary of the new constitution on Saturday with mixed reactions on the progress made so far.

Some Kenyans felt a lot had been achieved while others claimed they were yet to rip any benefits of the new law.

“We think there has been no change in the attitude of the government and politicians. The old practices of corruption, ethnic feelings continue probably at a higher level than before. We now live in a state of injustice and depression as we did a year ago,” former Constitution of Kenya Review Commission Chairman Prof Yash Pal Ghai said.

Prof Ghai who had joined over 300 delegates attending the constitution stakeholder’s national convention in Nairobi to mark the anniversary on Saturday said reports gathered across the country showed that most Kenyans were still witnessing inequalities, high poverty and human rights abuses, despite promises that the new law would protect their fundamental rights.

He said: ‘The new constitution is a good law but its impact has to be felt by all Kenyans for it to be perceived as successful.”

But anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) said a lot of progress had been made in the implementation of the constitution.

TI Executive Director Samuel Kimeu described the passage of laws crucial for the implementation of the constitution as commendable.

“We have had gains but we have also had disappointments. My view is that in as much as we have had those gains, the disappointments have come because of the delays that we have allowed ourselves to be caught up in. The constitution was promulgated in August and we took so long in establishing for example CIC,” he stated.

Mr Kimeu said focus now needs to be put on implementing the remaining Bills,

“In terms of the way forward, we now have to focus on the key bills and make sure that we do not miss any other deadlines,” he said.

The Chairman of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities Kofi Annan also commended the Cabinet and Parliament for what he termed as a job well done in ensuring deadlines in the passage of crucial Bills were met.

In a statement on the one year anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution, he stressed the importance of maintaining both the letter and spirit of the constitution.

“The milestone being marked Is not just symbolic but also provides an opportunity to assess progress in the implementation of the Constitution. This is a chance to take stock of the achievements made, the lessons learned and the challenges that lie ahead,” he said.

Mr Annan urged the people of Kenya to remain engaged and to fully support the implementation of the Constitution.

The US government also congratulated Kenya stating that in the past year, important steps had been taken to implement the constitution but much still remains to be done.

“The document is a framework for the respect of individual liberties, access to justice for all, social equality, and economic opportunity,: the brief statement said..

A number of Kenyans interviewed by Capital News also lauded progress made in the passage of key legislation crucial for the implementation of the constitution.

“I can say that we are going to experience a lot of changes because of that promulgation, it is a beginning. We are hoping for the best,” said David Kamau, a newspaper vendor in Nairobi.


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