It’s all systems go as Kenya celebrates ‘rebirth’

By Mark Oloo in Nairobi – Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki will tomorrow promulgate a new constitution at an exclusive ceremony attended by eight African heads of state and government.

Photo: A jumbo Kenyan flag will be hoisted tomorrow when the new laws take effect.

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and a team of eminent African personalities will also attend the event at the capital, Nairobi.

Security has been tightened in the capital, with police restricting civilian access to areas around parliament and Uhuru Park, where the historic signing will be held from 8.15am tomorrow.

At a press briefing yesterday, Kenya’s secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura said the country’s military will stage numerous martial displays, including a 21-gun salute, to mark the East African country’s rebirth.

This is the first time Kenya has adopted a new constitution in four decades to replace the Independence constitution crafted in Lancaster in 1963.

During the promulgation tomorrow, Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga will take fresh oath office alongside their ministers.

The two leaders are sharing power in a grand coalition, under an accord brokered by Annan in February 2008, after disputed presidential election.

The poll dispute led to violence in which 1,300 died early 2008.

Kenya’s constitutional office holders including judges, permanent secretaries, assistant ministers and heads of key departments will also be sworn in.