People all over the world have been congratulating the Kenyans for passing a progressive constitution that will, if honestly and truly implemented, will transform this politically tense country – it comes only three years after election violence rocked the country – into a true liberal democracy.
Experts and citizens in the region alike have praised it as being a model which other countries in East Africa should emulate. This might be a tricky proposition as the new constitutions decentralizes power away from the president and creates a more federal system that sends more power to the regions and counties. Betty Kamya would be thrilled with such a change.
Such a devolution of powers was received warmly by the Kenyans as a step which is bound to accelerate development in their country. As long as Kenyan politicians do not get in the way.
But at the celebrations to inaugurate the historic landmark, many were left agape by the attendance of Sudanese President Omar Bashir at the function.
Bashir was indicted by the international Criminal Court in the Hague for crimes against humanity in Darfur region of his country. Kenya being a signatory to the ICC Statute, that country was obliged to arrest Bashir once he set foot in the territory.
The media pounced and human rights activists strongly criticized the move. But Bashir was assured that he would not be touched, and therefore was free to mix freely with other leaders, an opportunity that he has not had for a long time. The Kenyan foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told the press that Bashir was invited in his capacity as a regional leader.
However, the Kenyan Prime Minister came out days after and criticised his government for inviting a man who is wanted by the ICC to come and be part of such a historical event. Let’s hope the implementation of the new constitution goes smoother.