Friday, August 6, 2010



US President Barack Obama has lauded Kenyans for voting in a new Constitution at a referendum held on Wednesday August 5, 2010. Photo/FILE

US President Barack Obama has lauded Kenyans for voting in a new Constitution at a referendum held on Wednesday August 5, 2010. Photo/FILE

By KEVIN KELLY in New York and NATION reporter
Posted Friday, August 6 2010 at 09:15

US President Barack Obama has lauded Kenyans for voting in a new Constitution at a referendum held on Wednesday.

He congratulated “the Kenyan people and government on the holding of a peaceful, transparent and credible constitutional referendum".

Mr Obama called the voting “a significant step forward for Kenya's democracy,” adding that “the peaceful nature of the election was a testament to the character of the Kenyan people".

The landslide victory for the Yes side “reflects the desire of the Kenyan people to put their country on a path toward improved governance, greater stability, and increased prosperity,” the US leader said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Obama pledged the support of the United States, “as Kenya's close friend and partner,” in implementing the new constitution.

He said the US will “stand with the Kenyan people as they reach for a better future".

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also commended Kenya on the conduct and outcome of the referendum.

Noting that two-thirds of voters had supported the proposed constitution, Mrs Clinton said “this is an indication that a very strong majority of Kenyans have voted for fundamental change".

Releasing the official referendum results on Thursday, the chairman of the IIEC Ahmed Isaack Hassan said that Yes garnered 5,954, 767, representing 67.25 per cent of the vote while No got a total 2, 687, 193 (30.25pc).

At the same time, The Panel of Eminent African Personalities said it was "greatly encouraged by the successful conclusion of the referendum on Kenya’s new constitution".

The Panel said the high voter turnout, at 71 per cent, reflected Kenyans' desire to shape its future.

"The result of the referendum, published by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) on 5 August, suggests that Kenyans have voiced their overwhelming support for a new constitution and the opportunity it provides to end the country’s decades-long quest for a better governance architecture," The Panel said in a statement.

The Panel, which was instrumental in brokering a peace deal at the height of Kenya's post election violence brought by a disputed presidential election, said there "are no winners or losers in this referendum".

"It is Kenya itself that has triumphed!"

The Kofi Annan-led Panel praised President Kibaki and Prime Minister for their leadership in the constitutional review process and called for the implementation of reforms.

"We commend the two Principals for their stewardship of the and congratulate the Government and the people of Kenya for this momentous step. We urge all involved to honour their commitments to the outstanding reforms envisaged under Agenda Item 4 of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation process."

Add a comment (4 comments so far)

  1. Submitted by Abdulhakim
    Posted August 06, 2010 10:38 AM

    @ahadiyetu, dont be so pesimistic, in the first place youwere rejecting the draft as having foreign issues and now you are begging

  2. Submitted by jakegc
    Posted August 06, 2010 10:35 AM

    Now is the time for the US to remove its current TRAVEL WARNING on Kenya.This ranks Kenya alongside countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. None of the countries subject to Travel Warnings by the US are known as tourist destinations except Kenya. If this can be removed it will encourage more US tourists to visit Kenya

  3. Submitted by tomyebei
    Posted August 06, 2010 10:33 AM

    Its Good to be commended, however the President Obama should move and support the process of actualizing the new constitution. We are aware of the massive resources it will require to implement therefore people like Obama will play an instrumental role weaning this process.

  4. Submitted by ahadiyetu
    Posted August 06, 2010 10:07 AM

    Thank you for congratulations but Kenya need more than that. It needs economic economic development through trade not mere words.