President Uhuru Kenyatta has affirmed Kenya’s commitment to the promotion of democracy, respect for human rights, regional peace and security as well as the war against corruption.
“Kenya commits to strengthen democracy, defend against authoritarianism, combat corruption and respect for human rights within the country, the East African Community, the African region and in the world at large,” the President said.
President Kenyatta’s message was delivered through a video recording on Friday evening at the virtual summit on democracy convened by US President Joe Biden. The two-day conference attracted high-level participation from more than 100 nations.
Since independence, Kenya has progressively deepened its democracy and entrenched the rule of law, President Kenyatta told the conference.
“I wish to confirm that we have achieved significant democratic milestones, which include amongst other things; the adoption of an inclusive and progressive Constitution of Kenya (2010) that incorporates an expansive bill of rights; and more decentralized governance structure of 47 county governments with increased county capacity in localized planning, public expenditure management and soon,” the President noted.
He outlined promotion of diversity and inclusion especially for previously marginalized groups such as women, youth and persons with disability as well as an independent judiciary, robust bicameral parliament and enhanced framework for public participation in decision-making processes as some of Kenya’s democratic achievements over the years.
President Kenyatta informed the summit that Kenya had engrained an election culture that has seen regular elections held initially under a single-party regime that gave way to a multi-party system.
“The principle of free and fair elections in every five years is legally enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution and provided for in the Elections Act. Towards this end, my administration is on course to hold the third general election under the 2010 Constitution,” President Kenyatta said.
He expressed concern over the rising political instability on the continent underlined by coups and unconstitutional changes of government contrary to the dictates of democracy.
On regional peace and security, President Kenyatta said Kenya will continue backing international efforts to find sustainable solutions to conflicts and instability plaguing her neighbours.
“Kenya has been at the forefront in peacekeeping operations within the African continent and beyond. Our active participation in peacekeeping is testimony of our confidence in the crucial role it plays in the restoration of democratic institutions of leadership,” he said.
President Kenyatta also spoke about Kenya’s war against corruption saying the country had achieved significant milestones during his tenure.
“The posture, the will and actions taken by Government speak to this acclaim –evidenced at the onset by the open governance space that allows for unrestrained whistleblowing and reporting,” he said adding that Kenya had embraced innovative prevention, investigation and asset recovery strategies that had began showing positive results.
He said recent successes in the anti-graft war were largely as a result of the multi-agency approach adopted by his government where intelligence, investigation, prosecution and restitution agencies work together. In his opening remarks on Thursday, US President Joe Biden cautioned that democracy globally was under threat and called for concerted efforts to put it back on course.
Other notable speakers included UN Secretary-General António Guterres and a host of Heads of State and Government from across the world.