News 2008


Marende says he supports reconciliation

Daily Nation

13. Feb. 2008

"Honourable members, allow me at the onset to appreciate the efforts of our very worthy negotiators in seeking solutions to the post-election crisis that has engulfed our country, under the auspices of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Team. May I, at this point, commend our colleagues, good ladies and gentlemen, for the important work they are doing.

These valiant parliamentarians deserve praise and recognition for the tremendous hope that is now apparent in many Kenyans that a resolution could come and come soon.

As I have stated at various fora, we in the National Assembly associate ourselves with your efforts and with other efforts, local and international, to ensure that Kenya reclaims her rightful place in the community of nations. The National Assembly is able, willing and ready to play its rightful role in finding sustainable and lasting peace for our country, anchored on truth, justice and reconciliation.

Your excellencies, I am pleased to inform you that simultaneously with your work, the National Assembly, under the auspices of the Amani Forum, has established a reconciliation and peace building initiative. Under this initiative, MP across party lines have been visiting the parts of the country hardest afflicted by violence and displacement and have been preaching forgiveness, peace and reconciliation.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all members who have participated in this initiative and to urge you to keep up the good work. May I also encourage more members to participate in this project. This is what true statesmanship is all about. I give my personal assurance that my office will continue to do everything possible to facilitate this process.

Difficult questions

The experience of this last month should also lead to some reflection on our part as the National Assembly. We must ask ourselves difficult questions. How well prepared are we to deal with situations of conflict? What role should the National Assembly play in this kind of situation? We need to commence immediately to build our own capacity in conflict management and resolution and disaster preparedness. I am gratified to note that some of our development partners have expressed willingness to support and collaborate with us to this end. In this regard, I have directed the office of the Clerk to immediately begin work to conceptualise and structure appropriate programmes.

Honourable members, before we are briefed on the progress of the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation Talks, let me, on your behalf reiterate the willingness and readiness of the National Assembly to facilitate the enactment of any necessary constitutional or statutory changes that will aim to bring lasting peace, reconciliation and national unity to this land. Let us roll up our sleeves and be ready to put in whatever it takes to return this country to its glory. As we do this, some caution is in order: We must not seek easy and superficial solutions. We must be prepared to make the hard options that will endure the test of time and ensure that never again shall neighbour rise against neighbour in our country.

Hear this from the chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, sub-committee on Africa and Global Health, Mr Donald M. Payne: “What is happening in Kenya is not and I repeat is not an ethnic conflict. It is a political conflict with ethnic overtones. However, if political leaders in Kenya do not make a serious effort to stop the violence now and address the systemic problems that exist in their political structures, the violence we are seeing could suddenly reach a point of no return. Once that happens, it would be very difficult to stop.”

It is critical that we implement necessary reforms such as a new constitution, to address the root causes of the crisis."