Marende says he supports
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
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.
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."