Hillary Clinton urges Kenyans to exercise democracy and maintain peace ahead of the forthcoming General Elections

Secretary Clinton with President Mwai Kibaki

While on her seven-day tour of Africa, U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has today held talks with President Kibaki at State House Nairobi. In attendance was a contingent of government officials who comprised of Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Cabinet Ministers Yusuf Haji, Eugene Wamalwa, Sam Ongeri, head of Public Service Francis Kimemia and Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai.

Clinton, who jetted in on Saturday morning arrived at State House at 11am where she held discussions with President Kibaki on issues to do with the upcoming general elections and the state of the regional security. On her one hour meeting with government officials, comprehensive talks were carried out touching on security-both internal and external- humanitarian issues, governance, development and the prevailing Somalia situation.

However, President Kibaki assured the U.S Secretary of State that enough measures to maintain peace and co-existence have been taken in preparation for the next General Elections slated for March 4th 2013, under the new constitution. “So much has happened since you last visited Kenya in 2009. What, however, stands out above all other developments is the promulgation of our new Constitution in August 2010,” President Kibaki said.

The President reassured the entire international community at large that his government has been proactive in ensuring the full implementation of the new constitution. He said that the necessary recommendations were on track and the pending bills are being worked on. On matters election, he restated the government’s commitment to ensure a transparent, free and fair election devoid of violence witnessed during the 2007/2008 post-election violence that rocked the country. “The new Constitution offers a lot of hope for our country and we are therefore all committed to its full implementation,” said the President.

President Kibaki also laid more emphasis on the importance of peace in Somalia, which prompted his government to make inroads to the disintegrated nation which has affected not only Kenya’s economic interests but also the entire East African states. For this reason, he urged the U.S to play a lead role in mobilizing international communities to help re-build a secure Somalia.  “Tremendous progress has been made in liberating Somalia from extremist and terrorist forces. We are all looking forward to the end of the transitional period this month,” he revealed.

Ms. Clinton congratulated Kenya for its efforts in securing the dilapidated state of security in the region and its continued pledge to stabilize the country. Such efforts according to her would be greatly be supported by the U.S government. In addition, the U.S Secretary of State also assured the President that Kenya’s efforts would be acknowledged with the upgrading of the UNEP offices in the country in spirit of the Rio+20 Conference in the forthcoming UN Heads of States Summit set to be held in New York September this year.

During their discussions, President Kibaki expressed his gratitude on America’s new strategy towards Sub-Saharan Africa on the Continent’s exponential economic potential meant to open up new avenues for strategic partnership and prosperity aimed at full eradication of poverty. The decision to have the U.S Congress extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) preferential trade programme by three years was also very much welcomed by the President. The move according to the president was meant to secure thousands of jobs for the Kenyan workers who work in the textile industry.

Her coming to visit African states has however been criticized by various analysts who view it as a move aimed at solidifying U.S-African ties in the face of the greater Chinese partnership. Expectations are that Clinton’s tour would majorly focus on matters democracy and business co-operation between the U.S and African nations.

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