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Politics | Human rights | Society

Annan calls for speedy implementation of reforms in Kenya

afrol News, 30 March - The former UN Chief, Kofi Annan has warned that the achievements gained after the 2007 post election violence could be derailed if the government fails to implement reforms as agreed by the country’s leadership in February this year.

Mr Annan said although the achievements are visible in rebuilding peace and trust among Kenyans, the slow pace of the implementation of reforms had caused disillusionment among ordinary Kenyans.

“There is a collective understanding of what needs to be done to move the country forward. The average person finds it hard to comprehend why the changes, some of them very fundamental, are not taking place at a faster pace,” he said.

He urged the Kenyan government to accelerate reforms as agreed by the country’s leadership, saying since there has been no signs of disagreements on reforms, the government should take urgent action.

The reforms which include a police shake up as well as the creation of a special tribunal for Kenya, independent of the judiciary, anchored in a constitutional amendment and staffed by both Kenyan and international judges and prosecutors, have somehow met rejection from the country's legislature.

Mr Annan who address more than 200 people on a two day meeting on the Opening Plenary of ‘The Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation - One Year Later to review the mediation process in Kenya in 2008 said the East African state was at a turning point, saying it should act on reforms.

“The parties have already agreed on a blueprint for building a more equitable, prosperous and just society. That blueprint is found in the reform package agreed in the National Dialogue,” he said.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga formed unity government in February last year after Mr Odinga accused President Kibaki of rigging the December 2007 elections. The violence that followed killed more than 1, 000 and displaced thousands.

Mr Annan praised the efforts of all Kenyans in 2008, stating that the cessation of violence was a great achievement on the part of the political leadership and the people of Kenya.

“Kenyans should be very proud for having brought the country back from the brink. There was no alternative to dialogue and mediation, and the leaders found the courage and wisdom to seek a political settlement to stop the killing,” he said.

He cautioned that although the unity government agreement has been signed, the implementation is more difficult, stating that an agreement could be just a piece of paper unless it is actually implemented faithfully.

The Kenya national dialogue hosted by the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva on 30 and 31 March 2009, draws lessons from the mediation in Kenya in 2008 that can be shared with Africa and the wider world.

Last month, the former UN chief, Kofi Annan, who is also chairman of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities and the broker of the original agreement that ended the violence, granted the government more time to reintroduce the measures that will see the setting up of the Tribunal.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga who fought for the bill in parliament including intensive lobbying, are still pushing for the tribunal as both local and international pressure intensifies.

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