German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in Kenya for a three day visit. On her arrival she met with the President of the Republic of Kenya Mr Mwai Kibaki at State House, Nairobi, the Prime Minister Mr Raila Odinga and the Members of Parliament led by the speaker of the National Assembly, Kennedy Marende, before giving a lecture at the University of Nairobi later in the afternoon.
Merkel called on the President and the Prime Minister to speed reconciliation in a country that went into post election violence after a disputed election in the year 2008 that left 1,133 people dead and 650,00 internally displaced.
She said the two leaders who are running a coalition government should bridge social imbalances and to bring on-board the public in decision making. In a press statement after her meeting with the President, the German Chancellor said:
“We want to strengthen the economic relations between Kenya and Germany and ensure safe conditions for investment. I am also pleased that we can now establish an official office of the Delegation of German Industry in Nairobi, which will help to improve economic cooperation.
“We are interested in Kenya’s proposal for the construction of the port in Lamu.
“The fact that we have the Agriculture Minister in our delegation shows that we want to get involved more in the agricultural sector stronger – particularly in view of the terrible drought. With the suffering of so many people we hope that more can be done in future to overcome these terrible natural disasters better.”
The country was applauded for making strides in constitutional implementation, however, Ms Merkel said the country needs to put its house in order on the front of corruption to magnetize investors to the country.
Germany being one of the signatories of Internal Criminal Court (ICC) the Chancellor said the country should collaborate with the ICC for justice to be afforded to the post election violence victims and build a foundation of reconciliation that can withstand the storms of future elections. According to Kenya’s new constitution, the country is expected to hold an election in August 2012.
Those who are facing the ICC charges are Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service, Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General, Hussein Ali Eldoret, North Member of Parliament (MP), William Ruto, Tinderet MP, Henry Kosgey, and radio presenter, Joshua Sang.
Germany offered Kenya €140 million for social welfare projects targeting the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and €1 million aid to give Daadab refugee camp a new face lift for those who are fleeing from the Horn of Africa, Somalia and Sudan.
With the independence of South Sudan from the larger Sudan it is expected that peace is going to prevail after decades of turmoil and civil war.
Kenya received backing from Germany in its quest to upgrade the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to ensure that the headquarters remains in Nairobi.
Kenya’s Member of Parliament for Central Mandera, Mr Abdikadir Mohammed, who was formerly the chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs, has been tipped for Germany’s Africa Prize for steering the constitution making process to success. 70% of the Kenyans voted for the constitution and it was brought into law in August last year.
The President, Mr Mwai Kibaki, outlined the progress the country is making in economic and constitutional implementation among others but he said Kenya need resources and manpower to implement the constitution, attract finance and build capacity.
“The task of implementing the Constitution requires a lot of resources and manpower,” Mr Kibaki said, adding “We have underlined the importance of support from the German government in terms of finances and capacity building.” Ms Merkel will visit Angola and Nigeria before winding up her visit to Africa.