Kenya

Kenya: Democracy and political participation

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AfriMAP and the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) organized a joint validation workshop on 9 November 2009 during which Kenyans were called upon to address the issue of ethnicity as a root cause of conflicts and poor governance performance in the country. Participants were discussing early findings of the upcoming AfriMAP report on Democracy and Political Participation in Kenya. According to a draft discussion paper presented at the workshop, peace can only be achieved and sustained, if comprehensive reforms are adopted under the National Dialogue and Reconciliation Accord.

The document, which was authored by Professor Karuti Kanyinga, senior researcher at the University of Nairobi, made for 10 primary recommendations aimed at both the Government of National Unity and the Committee of Experts on the constitution review process. The report also pointed to urgent issues to be addressed, some of which included: overhauling of the Kenyan electoral system, enactment of laws and implementation of policies promoting issues based politics, prioritizing negotiations between politicians to achieve speedy consensus on system of government that is representative of all Kenyans. All of these are aimed at diminishing ethnic cleavages, bias and violence.

The keynote speaker was OSI President Aryeh Neier. Other panelists included: Atsango Chesoni, Vice chairperson of the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review team; Muthoni Wanyeki, Executive Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission and member of the AfriMAP advisory committee; Rev. Canon Peter Karanja, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya; Hon. Abdi Kadir Mohamed, member of Parliament and chair of the Departmental committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. The meeting was attended by faith based organizations, media, members of parliament, diplomatic corps and development agencies.