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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kenya's new constitution features in New York talks

Kenya's promulgation of the new constitution and how it will impact on the country's foreign policy was the subject of consultative meeting at the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

The talks attended by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and presided over by former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also explored on the impact the new document would have on the security situation on the horn of Africa
According to the Foreign Affairs Head of public Communication Mrs Judith Ngunia who also attended the talks is that the question and answer session centered on the how Kenya went through the process of attaining the new constitution.

The CFR is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank and publisher with more than 4,300 members across the globe.

Their members include government officials, scholars, business leaders, journalists, prominent attorneys and other nonprofit professionals.

The council helps its members and others to better understand the world and foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.

Wetangula is said to have explained to the members that the process of implementation will be staggered across a period of five years for the reforms to be undertaken and overhaul the current system of government to a more democratic system.
The minister called on partner states to assist Kenya in the crucial phase of implementation, especially with regards to drafting of various legislations

Wetangula told the session that the new constitution will avail more resources to programmes directly affecting the youth, who constitute 70 per cent of Kenya’s population and also to the women, who will benefit from the mainstreaming of gender issues in the country’s bill of rights on gender equity and women’s economic rights.

Brunt of instability
On the question of security challenges in the region, the minister said that Kenya bore the brunt of instability in the horn of Africa due to the inflow of refugees from Somalia and Sudan, and therefore the country had taken a more proactive approach to ensure that peace prevails in the region.

He said Kenya was happy with the recent political developments in Sudan after president Kibaki held talks with President Bashir of Sudan in Nairobi with regards to the comprehensive peace agreement, in which the two parties agreed to hold the referendum in the stipulated time frame .

Wetangula said discussions are on going on the few issues still lagging behind and which if delayed could derail peace and security in the Sudan and cited the demarcation of the north-south border and the power sharing and governance issues .

Responding to Secretary Albrights question on the issue of Somalia the minister said Kenya supports the transitional federal government of Somali and called on the US government to focus more attention on the Somali and support the African union’s initiative of peace enforcement rather than peace keeping in Somalia.
The minister said Somalia’s situation had degenerated due to neglect by the international community and called on the Security Council to focus more attention on Somali issues.

The minister also invited American investors to invest in the expanded East African market as it offered conducive investment opportunities.

The minister was flanged by foreign affairs permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi and ambassadors Dr.Monica Juma and Dr. Josephine Ojiambo.

Source: The Standard


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