EU, US to educate Kenyans on draft
Posted Friday, April 23 2010 at 13:24
Aim of their campaign will be to help Kenyans make informed decisions on contentious issues, especially land reforms and powers of the executive.
The European Union and the United States will assist in educating Kenyans on the proposed new constitution, representatives of the countries said Friday.
They said the aim of their campaign will be to help Kenyans make informed decisions on contentious issues, especially land reforms and powers of the executive.
The diplomats indicated that their support will be channelled through the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, the Committee of Experts and civil society.
“The civic education must help bust the myths and inaccuracies around the contents of the draft,” said Mr Eric van der Linden, the European Union Head of Delegation.
“We will support the electoral commission of Kenya meet its voter registration targets and assist in civic education on the draft law since it is a complex document,” the envoys said.
The 27- member EU block and the US, which have asked Kenyans to register and vote in the referendum expected in August, were keen to point out that they did not support any side of the debate.
Mr Linden denied suggestions that the EU had backed the Yes campaign on the proposed new law.
“The final decision will be made by Kenyans,” he said during a news conference at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi.
He was accompanied by British High Commissioner to Kenya Rob Macaire and Dr Laetitia van den Assum from The Netherlands as well as a representative from the Canadian embassy.
Mr Linden has also written a commentary, which gives tacit support for the draft.
While calling on Kenyans to vote on the draft, he said that many Kenyans, including the chairman of the Committee of Experts had pointed out that it was “an improvement on the current one.”
He also supported President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s joint stand in support of the new constitution.
US ambassador Michael Rannerberger said his country, which has pledged to provide funds for the referendum, will be making an announcement on the matter next week.
He challenged the Interim Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya to ensure that the referendum on the draft constitution is open and credible.