Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ultimate Power Lies with the Electorate

By Michael E. Ranneberger: US Ambassador to Kenya. Addressing members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kenya at a Nairobi hotel 20.11.2006.

Bringing corrupt officials and businesspeople to justice isn’t just about changing the law. It’s about changing behaviour. The 2007 elections are a major opportunity for Kenyans to do just that by insisting that candidates delineate clear proposed courses of action to deal with corruption, tribalism, and the other challenges facing the country. I believe the electoral process in Kenya — under the watchful oversight of an independent Electoral Commission of Kenya — can be conducted in a constructive, transparent manner. Achieving consensus on electoral reforms will make the electoral process more inclusive and participatory.

During the 2007 electoral process, Kenyans will in effect be setting the agenda for the next five years. This can credibly be done only through an inclusive, candid, national dialogue that leads to development of a substantive agenda to move Kenya forward. A credible, fully participatory national electoral process is the key step forward in the fight against corruption and tribalism, and to maintain the positive momentum in Kenya.

In a democracy, the ultimate power lies not with politicians, nor with the international community, nor with the rich and powerful, but with the ordinary people. They get to decide if they are going to allow a leader to remain in office, or to send him into retirement; they get to reward good governance by extending the tenure in office of those who have lived up to their expectations; or they can — quite literally — hand over power to new leaders who have most effectively articulated a vision to which they subscribe.

Read entire speech here

No comments: