Friday, August 27, 2010
Image via WikipediaKenya gets new American-style constitution - Yahoo! News
NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya's president signed a new constitution into law Friday that institutes a U.S.-style system of checks and balances and has been hailed as the most significant political event since Kenya's independence nearly a half century ago.
Kenya's new constitution is part of a reform package that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga committed themselves to after signing a power-sharing deal in February 2008. That deal ended violence that killed more than 1,000 people following Kenya's disputed December 2007 presidential vote.
"I feel honored to be your President at this moment because this is the most important day in the history of our nation since independence," said the 78-year-old Kibaki. He was a senior official of Kenya's independence party, the Kenya African National Union, when Britain handed over power in 1963 to its leader, Jomo Kenyatta.
Odinga said the new constitution was a major step in bridging Kenya's political and ethnic divisions.
"No one could have thought that out of the bitter harvest of the disputed election and the violence that pitted our people against each other just two years ago, we would be witnessing today the birth of a national unity that has eluded us for more than 40 years," Odinga said.