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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid