Godec Tells Kenya to Free Civil Society

US Ambassador Robert Godec has warning against shrinking freedoms in the country.

Godec said the embassy has seen attempts to introduce legislation and bills potential to limiting media and civil societies freedoms, clawing back the democratic gains.

He said opening up the democratic space is the best road for Kenya’s future and prosperity.

“As Kenyans work to build their future, it is critical to stay true to the values in your constitution. Protecting democratic space for civil society, maintaining freedom of the media, guaranteeing human rights and the rule of law for all citizen is the surest path to the Kenya you voted for in 2010,” Godec said.

“As you do so, we will support you, for together we can achieve great things.”

He was speaking at his residence during the 239 Independence Day celebration for the United States of America on Thursday

Godec urged the government to implement the Public Benefits Organisations Act 2013 for civili society groups to do their work without hindrances.

The Act was assented to in January 2013, but has not been implemented.

Instead, the government has initiated amendments despite opposition from the civil society and development partners.

“Its important there is space for civil society groups to do their job because they are partners and friends just like in the US. The Act is a perfect document,” Godec said.

“If there is need for revisions in future then there will be an oportunity to do so.”

On President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, Godec was not clear on the exact programme of events or the exact date when he will land.

“Of course President Obama will visit Kenya. He looks forward I can tell you to returning to the home of his farther. In so doing the President will honour deep ties between the US and Kenya and all of Africa,” he said.

“Now I’m often asked: What will President Obama do when he is here? The truth is we are still working on his programme. Many decisions have not yet been made and much remains to be done. I can assure you President Obama’s car is not yet in Nairobi.”

Godec said Obama’s programme will reflect his personal and the American people’s commitment to Kenya and Africa.