Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kibaki: New law will offer lessons for commonwealth

President Kibaki has said Kenya's experience in constitution making will offer lessons for commonwealth countries to transform their governance structures.
He said countries should embrace strong institutions of governance to "reflect the modern challenges and opportunities we face".

"It is therefore befitting that as a nation, we (Kenya) have made the bold step of reviewing and overhauling our governance structures to reflect the modern challenges and opportunities that we face.

"Last month we voted for and enacted a new constitution as the basis of stability, progress and good governance. Our experience in enacting a new constitution offers valuable lessons in the journey to transform our nations," said President Kibaki during the official opening of the 56th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi on Tuesday.

In his speech, the President said Parliament has a key role in providing capacity to address challenges of democracy and reforms for sustainable development.

"We are therefore happy to be ushering in a new constitutional dispensation that gives clear demarcations in the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government," he said.

President Kibaki urged the CPA to take a leading role in seeking solutions to challenges facing its people saying the electorate looks upon Parliament for guidance. He said such issues include climate change, energy, status of women, migrant workers as well as peace and security, all that require urgent attention.

He regretted the failure to achieve consensus during the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change in December that would have seen the replacement of the Kyoto Protocol. The President urged parliamentarians to take a proactive role in addressing climate change.

"Parliaments must, therefore, take a more proactive role in lobbying their respective governments to commit themselves to reduce carbon emissions.

"This forum is an opportunity for you, Parliamentarians, to further dialogue on the climate change debate which would inform consensus building on a post-Kyoto deal on greenhouse gas reduction which countries would be obliged to implement," he said.

The President told the gathering that Kenya was committed to tackling the sensitive issue of gender equity and was on course to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of empowering women through representation in government. He said it was his hope that progress towards the realisation of this goal will be among issues that the conference will dwell on.

"In Kenya, we are continuing to give greater attention to political participation of women because we recognise the critical role that women play in development.

"In this regard, I am happy that our new constitution has reserved 47 parliamentary seats for women representatives, who will be elected from each of the devolved county levels of government," said President Kibaki.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende were among those who attended the opening ceremony.

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