Saturday, 7th August 2010
By Athman Amran and Samuel Otieno
US President Barack Obama was among world leaders who congratulated Kenyans for endorsing a new Constitution.
In a statement, the US President said by holding a peaceful, transparent and credible referendum, the country has made a significant step forward in democracy.
"My Administration has been pleased to support Kenya’s democratic development and the Kenyan people, including through the visit of Vice President Biden earlier this year," the US President said yesterday.
He said by overwhelmingly approving a new Constitution, Kenyans have shown a desire to put the country towards a path of improving governance, greater stability and increased prosperity.
"Kenyans across the political, social, and ethnic spectrum now have a chance to come together to support implementation through an inclusive dialogue," said Obama, adding that reaching out to one another, Kenyans will be able to take advantage of the historic opportunity to move the country forward.
The US President said the implementation of the new law would play a decisive role in achieving these objectives in a way that would benefit all Kenyans.
"As Kenya’s close friend and partner, the United States will work with the international community to support the implementation process, and to stand with the Kenyan people as they reach for a better future," Obama said. Since taking power in 2008, Obama has been constantly critical of Kenya’s sluggish reform process after the 2007 post-election violence.
The Panel of Eminent African Personalities led by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, said it was encouraged by the successful conclusion of the referendum.
Win for all Kenyans
"We very much welcome reports which indicate that Kenyans were able to vote in a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere," the Panel said in a press statement issued from Nairobi.
They said there were no winners or At the same time, Britain, the European Union (EU), Canada and Germany also joined the international community in lauding Kenyans for approving a new Constitution. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said this was a landmark decision that raises hopes for a new era of stability and prosperity in Kenya.
"I hope this result will encourage Kenya’s Government and people to continue to strive for further reform and development," Mr Hague said, promising that the UK will stand by Kenya throughout the reform process.
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said the referendum was a historic event for Kenya and a landmark in the reform agenda.
"The EU trusts that the new Constitution will help to unlock further necessary reforms, such as to its electoral system, police and Judiciary that will enhance Kenya’s future stability and prosperity," Ms Ashton said in a press statement from Brussels. She expressed the EU’s readiness to continue supporting the country in the implementation of the new Constitution and the overall reform agenda.
And the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon said the peaceful referendum demonstrates the Government’s commitment in strengthening governance and accountability and removing inequalities in Kenya.
"Canada supports the Government of Kenya in its efforts to deliver on the reforms both parties in the Coalition Government agreed to in the National Accord of 2008," Cannon said in a press statement from Canada.
German’s federal Minister Guido Westerwelle described the referendum’s outcome as a milestone in the country’s political development.