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Kofi Annan/FILE


Annan in Kenya to assess reforms progress

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – Former United Nations Secretary General and peace mediator, Kofi Annan on Tuesday held a meeting with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC).

Annan, who flew in on Monday night to a tight schedule, aims to review the progress made so far in Kenya’s quest to implement reforms.

“He wanted to know a bit about the judicial reforms and was simply listening,” said Chief Justice Mutunga.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to release a detailed report of its performance since it took over office.

Annan has in the recent past lauded the appointments in the Judiciary including that of a new Supreme Court noting that judicial reforms were necessary in facilitating national reforms.

The meeting with the CIC, on the other hand, saw concerns surrounding devolution and the uncertainty of the forthcoming polls come up.

CIC Vice Chairperson Elizabeth Muli revealed that Annan renewed his statements on the importance of implementing the Constitution without mentioning the specifics touching on the elections.

“He was very encouraged with the work CIC is doing and he is looking forward to engaging with a number of offices just to find out where we are as a country because he has been away for a while. It was a very good meeting,” she explained.

Annan, who doubles up as the Chair of the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities, is also expected to meet Prime Minister Raila Odinga as well as several civil societies after which he will address the media.

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Muli added that the CIC had also cited its concerns with the proposals to amend the Constitution whenever it was convenient arguing that it risked derailing the gains of the Constitution.

“What he shared is that Parliament can amend the Constitution no doubt about that; but then the people of Kenya, in whom sovereignty rests, should be engaged in the process fully so if there’s going to be any major change in the Constitution, let it come from Kenyans,” she stressed.

She was also of the view that Kenyans should have engaged in a dialogue over the next elections’ date as it touched on the entire fabric of their country.

As it stands, the matter surrounding the elections date is before the Supreme Court awaiting hearing, while a constitutional amendment Bill that seeks to move the date from August to December has been published.

“In terms of changing the elections date, the whole country should have discussed that and agreed rather than have a few people decide on that position,” she said.

Annan has continuously monitored the country’s pace of implementing the Constitution and has even been dubbed ‘Kenya’s big brother’. The last time he paid Kenyans a visit he met the two principals as well as other implementation actors.

His message to Kenyans was that they remain vigilant in the entire implementation process to prevent a repeat of the deadly 2008 post election violence. He has also been at the forefront of the campaign against negative ethnicity.

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