News / Africa

New Kenyan Constitution Ushered in During Friday Ceremony

Michael Onyiego

After nearly two decades of frustration, the campaign to establish a new body of laws in Kenya will end Friday with the implementation of a new constitution.  Furious preparations are drawing to a close as the country welcomes foreign dignitaries for the historic event.

The constitution ceremony, being celebrated as a national holiday, will usher in what many believe could be a new era for the East African nation.  The event will be attended by leaders from across Africa including former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Across the Kenyan capital, workers employed by the Nairobi city council could be seen hanging flags, applying fresh coats of paint and removing litter from the city streets for the much anticipated Promulgation Day festivities.

Extra police forces have also been dispatched throughout central Nairobi to ensure the constitution's peaceful transition.  Despite the often bitter nature of the debate surrounding the constitution in the past months, the Kenyan government has promoted the ceremony as a day of national unity.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe urged Kenyans to demonstrate the same composure displayed during the referendum earlier this month.

"This is a very solemn ceremony for this country," said Kiraithe.  "We shall be on the spotlight from the international community and we expect the accountability Kenyans demonstrated throughout the referendum campaign period and up to now, the civilized manner in which we carried out referendum.  We really expect every to demonstrate that kind of civic responsibility to the world tomorrow."

Tomorrow is likely to bring some measure of closure to the country, which is still reeling from the post-election violence that rocked the country in early 2008.  After President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga accused each other of fraud in the December 2007 presidential election, ethnic violence erupted across the country.  More than 1,000 Kenyans were killed in the ensuing chaos, while 300,000 were forced to flee their homes.

The August 4 referendum that ratified the new constitution was part of the peace agreement that ended the violence.  Then-rivals President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga have since joined forces to support the new constitution.

Thousands are expected to flock to Nairobi's Uhuru Park to watch Kenya's leaders take their oaths under the new constitution.  Nairobi graduate student Ruth Wamboi says the festivities would mark a new beginning for the nation.

"Tomorrow will be a very big day for Kenya since it is a new dawn.  It is like a rebirth for Kenya," said Wamboi.  "Plus, it is all about women tomorrow because there is a very big representation of them in the constitution, so it is a good thing.  I am hoping for the best."

While certain provisions of the new constitution will take effect immediately, the new document will not be fully implemented until 2012.  Prime Minister Odinga, whose position was eliminated under the new draft, will not take a new oath of office, but will retain his post until presidential elections are held in 2012.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid