NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – President Mwai Kibaki on Friday said Kenya had made great strides in its quest for reforms, one year after the promulgation of the new Constitution, despite a myriad of challenges.
The Head of State addressed the nation on the eve of the country’s first anniversary under the new Constitution citing, judicial, electoral, police and human rights reforms as some of those that had been fast tracked to ensure Kenya doesn’t witness a repeat of the 2007 post election violence.
President Kibaki also lauded MPs for their tremendous effort in meeting the law deadlines noting that they had managed to pass 25 Bills, required before Friday’s midnight deadline.
He further applauded the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution, the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee, the Attorney General’s office, the Kenya Law Reform Commission, the Cabinet, the Task Forces and the line ministries.
“As Kenyans we owe a great debt to these institutions. Their exemplary work has passed the message that no stone should be left unturned in our endeavour to implement our constitution. They rose to the occasion when duty called,” he said.
He also called upon Kenyans to work together and remain steadfast in the implementation process.
“Once in a while differences of opinion among the multiple actors charged with the implementation of the constitution will arise. These must be resolved amicably. Together we must focus on what is best for Kenya,” he said.
President Kibaki specifically noted that Kenya had established a new Judicial Service Commission which would spearhead reforms in the judiciary.
He added that Kenyans had managed to nominate the members of the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Board before they are finally approved by the National Assembly, as part of judicial reforms. He also observed that the process of recruiting a new Attorney-General, Controller of Budget and Auditor-General were also in place.
“It has so far recommended for my appointment the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Court Judges, and Judges of the High Court. We are on the road to reforming our judiciary. A new Chief Justice and his Deputy are now firmly in place to offer leadership to our independent judicial branch,” he said.
Other laudable achievements mentioned by the President were the efforts made so far in setting up the Independent Electoral ad Boundaries Commission, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, and the Commission for Revenue Authority.
“The opportunity of our new Constitution has presented another opportunity. We are also renewing the ordinary laws of Kenya. Indeed we are refurbishing our legal system. Few countries in the world ever get the rare opportunity to fundamentally renew their legal system,” he argued.
He further reminded Kenyans not to lose sight on the other key Bills as set out under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
“We must embark on finalizing the next round of legislations. Time is still of the essence. There are other important Bills expected to be passed by the Constitution for which no deadline exists. We must also work on these,” he said.
Meanwhile President Kibaki has also urged leaders to avoid petty squabbles and unite in developing the country. Speaking to Kenyans when he made a stop-over in Narok town on Friday, he underscored the need for all Kenyans to work together towards achieving the country’s development goals.
He called on Kenyans to live together peacefully in order to reap the fruits of the development projects the Government is implementing in all parts of the country.
“We are constructing roads in all parts of the country so as to reduce the cost of transportation and ensure that you gain from the benefits that accrue from these projects,” President Kibaki said.
President Kibaki was accompanied by the Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, National Heritage Minister William Ole Ntimama, Roads Minister Franklin Bett, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, several Assistant Ministers, MPs and other senior Government officials.