Countering William Ruto’s Ignorant Lies (no. 1): William Ruto, Your Bigoted Stripes Are Showing, and You Are Now Taking Our Intelligence for Granted. Shame on You

Countering William Ruto’s Ignorant Lies (No. 1): William Ruto, your bigoted stripes are showing, and you are now taking our intelligence for granted. Shame on You!

Sex Means Gender – Look it Up in a Dictionary

The Referendum Campaign is degenerating into a farce and somewhat to blame is the Kenyan Mass Media which is unfortunately force feeding us with daily television clips of politicians saying bizarre things and obvious lies about the Proposed Constitution. Surely the time has come for the Mass Media to allow rebuttal of everything being said by the desperate ‘No’ proponents before broadcasting their misleading versions of what the Proposed Constitution means to Kenyans and their future. Ditto the ‘Yes’ political gang which is unscrupulously going about promising heaven on earth the day after August 4, 2010. Balance is a key ethical demand of journalism, or is it not?

Recently, the ‘No’ political gang has become preoccupied with Sex. This word that only appears in the Proposed Constitution of Kenya three times, is now one of the linchpins in William Ruto’s campaign against the Proposed Constitution. Mr. Ruto has now taken to the ‘Big Lie’ technique by which a lie repeated frequently enough will eventually be taken to be the factual truth – and unquestioningly so.

Today, from within the precincts of Parliament William Ruto, in the company of several MPs, held a press conference at which he claimed that section 27(4) of the Proposed Constitution will legalise same sex marriage. He also dared anyone to rebut his interpretation – and so we at Mars Group, totally fed up with William Ruto, now meet his challenge.

William Ruto is spewing bunk and we’d like to call him out of order.

The Proposed Constitution in section 45 (2) is clear as to what marriages are to be legal in Kenya should it be passed at the Referendum of August 4, 2010. In sum, section 45(2) of the Proposed Constitution of Kenya clearly states that “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.”

Either because of desperation, or for lack of education, Mr. Ruto understands, or believes that the word ‘sex’ in section 27 means something other than ‘gender’ in constitutional terms. His inferences on same-sex-marriage and otherwise are ignorant and unbefitting of a three-term legislator especially now that he is on a whirlwind tour of the country advising people on the content of the Proposed Constitution. In fact section 27 of the Proposed Constitution of Kenya declares the right to equality between the two sexes (Female and Male) and the prohibition of any State and Private discrimination against any Kenyan merely on account of their gender (i.e. sex).

Section 27 (4) reads as follows:
PROPOSED CONSTITUTION OF KENYA
Equality and freedom from discrimination
27. (1) Every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law.
(2) Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedoms.
(3) Women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres.
(4) The State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth.
(5) A person shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against another person on any of the grounds specified or contemplated in clause (4).

The only other clause in the Proposed Constitution of Kenya which contains the word ‘sex’ is section 53 which makes plain that in the event that a child is to be detained that detention conditions shall take account of both the age and the gender of the concerned minor. To advance this argument we would advise William Ruto and his cohort to look at the Current Constitution of Kenya, and if they did they would surely see (unless they choose to be blind) that Chapter V our Bill of Rights, currently contains two clauses in which the word ‘sex’ appears; AND clearly when the word appears it means ‘gender’ (read section 70 – ‘Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual’ & section 82(3) – ‘Protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc’). The word ‘sex’ appears nowhere else in the Current Constitution of Kenya, and obviously it’s context and meaning are clear. Since 1963 how many same-sex marriages have been conducted on the basis of these two clauses of our Current Constitution, Mr. Ruto?

We pray that Kenyans won’t be fooled by the likes of Mr. Ruto; and that they will read the Proposed Constitution for themselves. Compare the Proposed Constitution with that which has prevailed in Kenya and permitted dictatorship and gross human rights violations, and make your own individual choices. For our part we would say to Mr. William Ruto, using his own well-worn catch-phrase, ‘Give Us a Break’! William Ruto, your bigoted stripes are showing, and you are now taking our intelligence for granted. Shame on You, Kiema Kilonzo, Canon Karanja et al.

Lies run sprints but the Truth runs marathons.

Mars Group Kenya


RELEVANT CLAUSES REFERRED TO:

PROPOSED CONSTITUTION OF KENYA

Family
Section 45.

(1) The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and the necessary basis of social order, and shall enjoy the recognition and protection of the State.
(2) Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.
(3) Parties to a marriage are entitled to equal rights at the time of the marriage, during the marriage and at the dissolution of the marriage.
(4) Parliament shall enact legislation that recognises—
(a) marriages concluded under any tradition, or system of religious, personal or family law; and
(b) any system of personal and family law under any tradition, or adhered to by persons professing a particular religion,
to the extent that any such marriages or systems of law are consistent with this Constitution.

Obviously, in this context, Sex’ means gender!!

PROPOSED CONSTITUTION OF KENYA
Children

section 53.

(1) Every child has the right –


(f) not to be detained, except as a measure of last resort, and when detained, to be held –

(i) for the shortest appropriate period of time; and


(ii) separate from adults and in conditions that take account of the child’s sex and age.

Obviously, in this context, Sex’ means gender!!

CURRENT CONSTITUTION OF KENYA
Section 70.

Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.

Whereas every person in Kenya is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, tribe, place of origin or residence or other local connexion, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely—
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of those rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

Obviously, in this context, Sex’ means gender!!

CURRENT CONSTITUTION OF KENYA
Section 82.

Protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc.

(1) Subject to subsections (4), (5) and (8), no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect. [FN: 9 of 1997, s. 9,]

(2) Subject to subsections (6), (8) and (9), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by a person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of a public office or a public authority.

(3) In this section the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin or residence or other local connexion, political opinions, colour, creed or sex whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.

Obviously, in this context, Sex’ means gender!!

An Appeal to the Citizens of the Republic of Kenya: It is Your Patriotic Civic Duty to Register to Vote – by Jayne and Mwalimu Mati

AN APPEAL TO THE CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA: It is your patriotic civic duty to register to vote – by Jayne and Mwalimu Mati

Fellow Citizens of Kenya,

We write to appeal to you, our brothers and sisters, to register to vote for the new proposed Constitution of Kenya at the referendum and for the leaders of your choice at the next general election.

We, like most of you, were born into an independent Kenya and into a constitution that states that Kenya is a democracy, but sadly, we have lived under bad governance and corruption for all our lives.

We write also as parents of two children because we believe that it is our duty as responsible citizens to encourage fellow Kenyans to foster a democratic environment that will create opportunities for our children and all the children of Kenya.

Every patriotic Kenyan citizen shares the responsibility for civic awareness, and civic duty. This is not the work of the media, faith groups, political parties or non-governmental organizations alone.  Every citizen shares the responsibility of working together to foster democracy for the good of our country. At all times citizens must act in the interest of fellow Citizens, because by doing so, we guarantee our own individual and collective interests. Democracy involves providing opportunities for all citizens without discrimination, which also means making decisions for our children who cannot vote until they attain the legal age of 18 years. We have a Constitutional and moral obligation to each other as citizens to make the best decisions on behalf of those who are young Kenyans below the age of 18 years. Every Kenyan Citizen over the age of 18 years (eligible to vote) must register to vote for the new proposed Constitution of Kenya at the referendum and for the leaders of their choice at the next general election.  And every Citizen must encourage their fellow citizens starting at home and at work to do the same.

Your Vote is your democratic and Constitutional right. Our votes allow us as citizens to do certain things or make sure that certain things are done for the benefit of all. It is only with your vote, that you can ensure that we have a “Constitution and government of the Kenyan people, by the Kenyan people, for the Kenyan people.” As Citizens of Kenya, we must play an informed role in the governance of our country. We must empower ourselves by registering to vote, because, it is only through the ballot, that we will make effective decisions about how and who we choose to govern on our behalf. It is only through the ballot that we will get a new Constitution for our country. It is only through the ballot that we will get a lawfully elected Government that will carry out the will of the Kenyan people.

As Citizens of Kenya, we all live together in our country. We therefore need to agree on how to run the affairs of our country. This agreement on how to run our country takes the form of a Constitution of Kenya. This agreement – a set of rules, agreed on by us as citizens binds all persons and is the supreme Law of the Republic. Our current Constitution says that all sovereign power in Kenya belongs to the Citizens of Kenya, and that we exercise this power through the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. The current Constitution declares the Rights of the Individual citizen and makes the state responsible for guaranteeing those rights.  But our current Constitution needs improvement to undo decades of amendments that weakened our democracy and created opportunities to destroy protective mechanisms and checks and balances.  Past Presidents and Parliaments did this.

We are soon to vote on a new set of rules in the proposed new constitution – how we as citizens want to live with each other and how we want to exercise our sovereign power. Let us make that decision together, as responsible Kenyans who love our country. Voting for the proposed new constitution can be the beginning of a new true democratic era, where we vote and also get involved. Where we say that from now, we, as citizens will share the job of governing our country.

The Proposed new Constitution lays a better foundation for good governance than the current one, which since 1964 has been amended to the benefit of the Presidents of Kenya and their cohorts.  The Proposed new Constitution declares that Kenya is a Sovereign Republic which is founded on Principles of Good Governance through multi party democracy, participatory governance, transparency and accountability, separation and devolution of powers, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law. This is how we as citizens of Kenya want to run our country.

The Proposed new Constitution recognizes that all Kenyans are born equal. That Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of Kenyans Citizens are given by God, and not by the State. That Kenyans have Human Rights because Kenyans are human beings. That protection of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms in the Constitution is because these rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away from us by anyone. And that Kenyans who occupy positions of power are subject to controls, checks and balances to ensure that they do not abuse their fellow citizens’ rights, as has been the case to date.  We as Kenyan Citizens must be ready to defend these rights at any cost.

The Proposed new Constitution in our opinion, strives to achieve the goals of a democratic society; the greatest possible freedom for all Kenyans; A just society; the same rules for all Kenyans; Equality before the law; Respect for the rule of law; and Equal opportunities for all Kenyans.

The Proposed new Constitution has addressed the equitable sharing, distribution, and allocation of public resources for development among all citizens. Kenyan citizens can get rich legally. Kenyans will have the right to: Fair and favourable conditions of work; Equal pay for work of equal value; the right to form and belong to a trade union; and the right to enjoy social security. The Proposed new Constitution has constitutionalised proper fiscal management of public funds and facilitates punishment of those who steal public funds. It deals with corruption firmly.

The Proposed new Constitution has effectively dealt with checks and balances by providing for independent arms of Government and in particular has dealt extensively with an independent Judiciary.

The Proposed new Constitution guarantees in an elaborate enhanced Bill of Fundamental Rights; the right to life, the right to personal freedom, Protection against slavery and forced labour, Protection from inhuman treatment, Protection from property being taken away illegally, Protection against an illegal search or entry, the right to the protection of the law, Freedom of conscience, Freedom of expression, Freedom of association and assembly, Freedom of movement, Freedom from discrimination, the right to participate in political activity without restriction, the right to hold your own views and talk about what you think and believe, the right to relate and socialize, and to move freely without obstruction. It also guarantees political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Over the 20 or more years that Kenyans have fought and even died trying to get a new Constitution, the views of millions of Kenyans have been collected. The Constitution of Kenya Review Commission reported these views in 2002. Summarized Kenyans said:

1. Give us the chance to live a decent life: with our fundamental needs of food, water, clothing, shelter, security and basic education met by our own efforts and the assistance of government.

2. We want a fair system of access to land for the future and justice for the wrongs of the past

3. Let us have more control over the decisions that affect our lives, bring government closer to us – and let us understand better the decisions we can’t make ourselves but which affect us deeply

4. We don’t want power concentrated in the hands of one person

5. We want our MPs to work hard, respect us and our views – and we want the power to kick them out if they don’t

6. We want to be able to choose leaders who have qualities of intelligence, integrity and sensitivity that make them worthy to lead us.

7. We want an end to corruption

8. We want police who respect citizens – so they can be respected by them

9. We want women to have equal rights and gender equity

10. We want children to have a future worth looking forward to – including orphans and street children

11. We want respect and decent treatment for the disabled.

12. We want all communities to be respected and free to observe their cultures and beliefs

13. We assert our rights to hold all sections of our government accountable – and we want honest and accessible institutions to ensure this accountability

It is our humble opinion that the Proposed new Constitution has captured our views and that we must therefore vote in large numbers at the referendum to ensure that it is enacted so that we can secure a brighter future for our children. We must also remember that even with the passing of a new constitution, the rules will bind us all. That no one is above the law; this basically means that all Kenyans are equal before the law and are subject to it. Any Kenyan who makes choices has to make them according to the say so of the law. The new Constitution will only make a difference in our lives if we adhere to the rule of law.

To ensure that the rule of law is respected in Kenya is our civic duty; and the responsibility ultimately lies with the citizens of Kenya. We write to you as fellow patriotic Kenyan citizens who love our country.

Most Sincerely,

Jayne & Mwalimu Mati

Mars Group Kenya

A Citizen’s Perspective on the Harmonised Draft Constitution of Kenya – Securing Human, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Are the Only Basis for the Establishment of a State and a Constitution to Govern It.

A Citizen’s Perspective On The Harmonised Draft Constitution Of Kenya – Securing Human, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Are The Only Basis For The Establishment of A State And A Constitution To Govern It.

Kenya is a Sovereign Republic: The Harmonized Draft Constitution has described Kenya as a Sovereign Republic which is founded on Principles of Good Governance through Multi party democracy, participatory governance, transparency and accountability, separation and devolution of powers, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law.

The purpose of establishing a State and a Constitution: To secure the basic human, economic, social and cultural rights is the purpose of establishing a State and a Constitution. The Constitution declares the Rights of the Individuals and groups and makes the state responsible for guaranteeing those rights. These Rights can be found in the Bill of Rights in Chapter 5 of the current Constitution and in Chapter 6 of the harmonised draft Constitution. The Bill of Rights is not merely an integral part of Kenya’s democratic State; it is the fundamental basis for the establishment of the State. In other words, apart from our securing our Rights as Citizens, there is no other purpose or reason to create a State or a Constitution.

Rights are inalienable and possessed by Kenyans: The purpose of the recognition and protection of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms in the Constitution is because these rights are inalienable and possessed by all Kenyans without regard to their social status, origin or persuasion. The State is therefore required by Kenyan citizens to use all State resources and Institutions to enhance these Rights and the State is prohibited from using its resources and Institutions to curtail these Rights as guaranteed to Kenyans. Rather, all resources owned by the State belong to Kenyans and are to be used for the benefit of Kenyan Citizens in protecting their rights.

All Kenyans are born equal: Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of Kenyans Citizens are given by God, and not by the State. Kenyans have Human Rights because Kenyans are human beings. All these rights are recognised by the entire world and restate that all human beings are born equal. Kenyans through their Government have signed and ratified International Human Rights, Civil and political Liberties, social economic and cultural rights conventions and these international laws are applicable in Kenya. Therefore the State does not give these Rights and cannot legally or lawfully take them away. Our Constitution is supposed to restate these Rights and protect them at all times.

All sovereign power in Kenya belongs to the Citizens of Kenya: All sovereign power in Kenya belongs to the Citizens of Kenya. Citizens exercise this power through the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. The Constitution is the supreme Law of the Republic that binds all State Organs at all levels of Government and all persons. The Citizens of Kenya may exercise their sovereign power either directly or through their democratically elected representatives, but the sovereign power at all times belongs to the Citizens of Kenya. Everything must be for the good of Kenyan Citizens.

When people live or work together, they agree on how they will run their affairs: Kenya is a defined geographical territory under one government and one set of laws, with its own currency, army, national symbols, system of taxation, etc. It is sovereign – that is, it is politically independent from other states and not subject to outside control. The people who live in Kenya are either citizens of Kenya or citizens of other states legally permitted to live and/or work in Kenya. When people live or work together, they need to agree on how they will run their affairs. In a political state, as well as in some organisations, this agreement takes the form of a CONSTITUTION.

The legislature, the executive and the judiciary: The Kenyan governmentis the machinery through which the state operates. It is made up of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature makes laws, the executive enforces them and the judiciary interprets and applies them. In a democratic society, the purpose of a lawfully elected government is to carry out the people’s will.

In a democracy, citizens share the job of governing their state: A good description of the meaning of democracy is that given by Abraham Lincoln, the US President who abolished slavery in America, in his famous Gettysburg Address, read at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War: ‘a government of the people, by the people, for the people.’ This implies that in a democracy, citizens share the job of governing their state. Some citizens serve in institutions set up by the Constitution and other laws under the Constitution.  But these citizens are not special – they only have special duties and responsibilities to the rest of their fellow citizens.  Most people know democracy as a form of government in which policy is decided by the favourite choice of the majority, usually by elections or referendum, open to its citizens.  And the policy is implemented by the citizens who work in State institutions.

The Goals of a Democratic Society: Democracy dictates that the following goals are achieved in a democratic Society:-

  • The greatest possible freedom for all;
  • A just society;
  • The same rules for all;
  • Equality before the law;
  • Respect for the rule of law; and
  • Equal opportunities for all.

Democracy needs open-mindedness and agreement between the citizens: In a democracy, cooperation by Citizens is needed, because elections divide the population into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. It is implied that whoever loses, allows the winners to take power peacefully and without argument. Democracy needs open-mindedness and agreement between the citizens, especially when one group is bigger than all the others. In a democracy, such a majority should not ignore the wishes and needs of members of smaller groups or minorities. Minorities include not just ethnic groups but disadvantaged and people with disabilities. At all times Citizens must act in the interest of their fellow Citizens, that way Citizens will guarantee their own interests.

Every citizen shares the responsibility for civic awareness: Democracy involves providing opportunities for all citizens without discrimination, and sometimes it also means helping some people – those disadvantaged by history, physical disability, or by factors that they can not control such as natural disasters. Democracy also asks citizens to do certain things or make sure that certain things are done. For example, every citizen shares the responsibility for civic awareness, democratic care, and working together for the good of the country.  This very important particularly now that the Harmonised Draft Constitution is now a public document open for public comment.

Democracy provides a base for honesty, fairness and equality: In a democracy, everyone is equal. Democracy turns away any forms of bias and provides a base for honesty, fairness and equality. Justice is a set of rules that provide each person in humanity with basic rights. These include: Human rights, the rule of law, Economic justice, and Gender fairness.

Rule of Law: The idea of the ‘rule of law’ is based on the idea of government by law. This means that no one is above the law; this basically means that all Kenyans are equal before the law and are subject to it. So no one can be punished unless they have broken the law and have been tried through the proper legal process. So, Leaders have to abide by the law. Any Kenyan who makes choices has to make them according to the say so of the law.

All Kenyans are equal before the law and are subject to it: From the President and the Prime Minister and their deputies to the citizen with no public position: Also, the law should apply to everyone equally without any favouritism on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, political association, colour, disability, social status and other physical or social characteristics.

Economic justice means that Kenyan citizens can get rich legally: Economic justice is the equal sharing, distribution and allocation of socio-economic wealth among all citizens.  Economic justice means that Kenyan citizens can get rich legally for the good of the individual and/or for the common good. It requires the state to be fair when allocating public resources for development.  Economic justice includes the right to:

  • Fair and favourable conditions of work;
  • Equal pay for work of equal value;
  • The right to form and belong to a trade union;
  • The right to go on a strike; and
  • The right to enjoy social security.

Citizens give their authority through their elected representatives to be taxed through their income and consumption. The taxes collected by the State are meant to benefit

Fundamental Freedoms and Rights protected by the current Constitution of Kenya:

  • The right to life,
  • The right to personal freedom,
  • Protection against slavery and forced labour,
  • Protection from inhuman treatment,
  • Protection from property being taken away illegally,
  • Protection against illegal search or entry,
  • The right to the protection of the law,
  • Freedom of conscience,
  • Freedom of expression,
  • Freedom of association and assembly,
  • Freedom of movement, and
  • Freedom from discrimination

The Harmonised Draft Constitution restates these rights and adds further categories of rights including political, economic, social and cultural fundamental rights.

Political freedom is the ability to:

* the right to participate in political activity without restriction

* hold your own views and talk about what you think and believe,

* relate and socialize

* Move freely without obstruction.

Economic freedom is:

* the ability to own and use property,

* the chance to work and provide for your living, and

* Freedom from forced labour and slavery.

Social freedom is:

* Treating people fairly,

* Privacy

* No cruel treatment.

These democratic freedoms are found in Chapter 6 “The Bill Of Rights” in the Harmonised Draft Constitution of Kenya.

Nothing in the Constitution can take away any of your Rights: The Bill of Rights is essential reading if citizens wish to understand the Draft Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution can take away any of your Rights. The Constitution creates State Organs and delegates Authority to State organs in order to enhance and protect the Rights of Citizens. Nothing in the Constitution can take Sovereign power away from the Citizens of Kenya.  All delegated power is exercised on behalf of the Citizens who elect and choose those who they wish to exercise that power on their behalf.

Constitution is not meant to benefit Politicians at the expense of Citizens: The Constitution is not meant to benefit Politicians at the expense of Citizens. It is therefore important for Citizens to understand the Draft for themselves and not be swayed by Politicians. At the end it is Kenyans who will decide what they want at the referendum. We need a Constitution that will determine how we want to live together as Citizens and how we wish to be governed.

Are we satisfied with what the draft has to say on these views?

Therefore, when reading the Draft, all Citizens must ask the question, “does this provision protect my Rights? Does this provision enhance my Rights?”The test must at all times be whether you the Citizen of Kenya are in charge of your affairs.  Has the Draft addressed the views of Kenyans collected by the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission in 2002? Are we satisfied with what the draft has to say on these views? What do you want added or removed from the Draft?

Send your views to the Committee of Experts on Constitutional review at the contacts below:

Delta House, Chiromo road, Westlands, Nairobi Kenya.

P.O Box 8703 – 00200

Telephone: 020 443 214 – 16

Email: info@coekenya.go.ke

www.coekenya.go.ke

Here is a Summary of Kenyan Views on the Constitution and the chapters where these views are reflected in the Harmonised Draft Constitution

(Summary of Kenyan views as reported in September 2002 by the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission)

1. Give us the chance to live a decent life: with our fundamental needs of food, water, clothing, shelter, security and basic education met by our own efforts and the assistance of government

Read Chapter 6 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

2. We want a fair system of access to land for the future and justice for the wrongs of the past

Read Chapter 7 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

3. Let us have more control over the decisions that affect our lives, bring government closer to us – and let us understand better the decisions we can’t make ourselves but which affect us deeply

Read Chapter 14 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

4. We don’t want power concentrated in the hands of one person

Read Chapter 12 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

5. We want our MPs to work hard, respect us and our views – and we want the power to kick them out if they don’t

Read Chapter 11 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

6. We want to be able to choose leaders who have qualities of intelligence, integrity and sensitivity that make them worthy to lead us.

Read Chapter 9 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Read Chapter 10 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

7. We want an end to corruption

Read Chapter 9 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

8. We want police who respect citizens – so they can be respected by them

Read Chapter 17 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

9. We want women to have equal rights and gender equity

Read Chapter 6 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

10. We want children to have a future worth looking forward to – including orphans and street children

Read Chapter 6 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

11. We want respect and decent treatment for the disabled.

Read Chapter 6 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

12. We want all communities to be respected and free to observe their cultures and beliefs

Read Chapter 5 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Read Chapter 6 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

13. We assert our rights to hold all sections of our government accountable – and we want honest and accessible institutions to ensure this accountability

Read Chapter 5 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Read Chapter 9 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Read Chapter 15 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Read Chapter 16 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Read Chapter 18 of the harmonised draft constitution to see what provisions have been provided by the draft on this view

Down Load the harmonised Draft Constitution here

A New Moment of Great Promise – Remarks by Us President Obama to the Ghana Parliament – July 11th 2009

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
______________________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release July 11, 2009

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO THE GHANAIAN PARLIAMENT
Accra International Conference Center
Accra, Ghana

12:40 P.M. GMT

THE PRESIDENT: (Trumpet plays.) I like this. Thank you. Thank you. I think Congress needs one of those horns. (Laughter.) That sounds pretty good. Sounds like Louis Armstrong back there. (Laughter.)

Good afternoon, everybody. It is a great honor for me to be in Accra and to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. (Applause.) I am deeply grateful for the welcome that I’ve received, as are Michelle and Malia and Sasha Obama. Ghana’s history is rich, the ties between our two countries are strong, and I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as President of the United States of America. (Applause.)

I want to thank Madam Speaker and all the members of the House of Representatives for hosting us today. I want to thank President Mills for his outstanding leadership. To the former Presidents — Jerry Rawlings, former President Kufuor — Vice President, Chief Justice — thanks to all of you for your extraordinary hospitality and the wonderful institutions that you’ve built here in Ghana.

I’m speaking to you at the end of a long trip. I began in Russia for a summit between two great powers. I traveled to Italy for a meeting of the world’s leading economies. And I’ve come here to Ghana for a simple reason: The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra, as well. (Applause.)

This is the simple truth of a time when the boundaries between people are overwhelmed by our connections. Your prosperity can expand America’s prosperity. Your health and security can contribute to the world’s health and security. And the strength of your democracy can help advance human rights for people everywhere.

So I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world — (applause) — as partners with America on behalf of the future we want for all of our children. That partnership must be grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect. And that is what I want to speak with you about today.

We must start from the simple premise that Africa’s future is up to Africans.

I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. After all, I have the blood of Africa within me, and my family’s — (applause) — my family’s own story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story.

Some you know my grandfather was a cook for the British in Kenya, and though he was a respected elder in his village, his employers called him “boy” for much of his life. He was on the periphery of Kenya’s liberation struggles, but he was still imprisoned briefly during repressive times. In his life, colonialism wasn’t simply the creation of unnatural borders or unfair terms of trade — it was something experienced personally, day after day, year after year.

My father grew up herding goats in a tiny village, an impossible distance away from the American universities where he would come to get an education. He came of age at a moment of extraordinary promise for Africa. The struggles of his own father’s generation were giving birth to new nations, beginning right here in Ghana. (Applause.) Africans were educating and asserting themselves in new ways, and history was on the move.

But despite the progress that has been made — and there has been considerable progress in many parts of Africa — we also know that much of that promise has yet to be fulfilled. Countries like Kenya had a per capita economy larger than South Korea’s when I was born. They have badly been outpaced. Disease and conflict have ravaged parts of the African continent.

In many places, the hope of my father’s generation gave way to cynicism, even despair. Now, it’s easy to point fingers and to pin the blame of these problems on others. Yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to breed conflict. The West has often approached Africa as a patron or a source of resources rather than a partner. But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants. In my father’s life, it was partly tribalism and patronage and nepotism in an independent Kenya that for a long stretch derailed his career, and we know that this kind of corruption is still a daily fact of life for far too many.

Now, we know that’s also not the whole story. Here in Ghana, you show us a face of Africa that is too often overlooked by a world that sees only tragedy or a need for charity. The people of Ghana have worked hard to put democracy on a firmer footing, with repeated peaceful transfers of power even in the wake of closely contested elections. (Applause.) And by the way, can I say that for that the minority deserves as much credit as the majority. (Applause.) And with improved governance and an emerging civil society, Ghana’s economy has shown impressive rates of growth. (Applause.)

This progress may lack the drama of 20th century liberation struggles, but make no mistake: It will ultimately be more significant. For just as it is important to emerge from the control of other nations, it is even more important to build one’s own nation.

So I believe that this moment is just as promising for Ghana and for Africa as the moment when my father came of age and new nations were being born. This is a new moment of great promise. Only this time, we’ve learned that it will not be giants like Nkrumah and Kenyatta who will determine Africa’s future. Instead, it will be you — the men and women in Ghana’s parliament — (applause) — the people you represent. It will be the young people brimming with talent and energy and hope who can claim the future that so many in previous generations never realized.

Now, to realize that promise, we must first recognize the fundamental truth that you have given life to in Ghana: Development depends on good governance. (Applause.) That is the ingredient which has been missing in far too many places, for far too long. That’s the change that can unlock Africa’s potential. And that is a responsibility that can only be met by Africans.

As for America and the West, our commitment must be measured by more than just the dollars we spend. I’ve pledged substantial increases in our foreign assistance, which is in Africa’s interests and America’s interests. But the true sign of success is not whether we are a source of perpetual aid that helps people scrape by — it’s whether we are partners in building the capacity for transformational change. (Applause.)

This mutual responsibility must be the foundation of our partnership. And today, I’ll focus on four areas that are critical to the future of Africa and the entire developing world: democracy, opportunity, health, and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

First, we must support strong and sustainable democratic governments. (Applause.)

As I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and in line with its own traditions. But history offers a clear verdict: Governments that respect the will of their own people, that govern by consent and not coercion, are more prosperous, they are more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.

This is about more than just holding elections. It’s also about what happens between elections. (Applause.) Repression can take many forms, and too many nations, even those that have elections, are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves — (applause) — or if police — if police can be bought off by drug traffickers. (Applause.) No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top — (applause) — or the head of the Port Authority is corrupt. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery. (Applause.) That is not democracy, that is tyranny, even if occasionally you sprinkle an election in there. And now is the time for that style of governance to end. (Applause.)

In the 21st century, capable, reliable, and transparent institutions are the key to success — strong parliaments; honest police forces; independent judges — (applause); an independent press; a vibrant private sector; a civil society. (Applause.) Those are the things that give life to democracy, because that is what matters in people’s everyday lives.

Now, time and again, Ghanaians have chosen constitutional rule over autocracy, and shown a democratic spirit that allows the energy of your people to break through. (Applause.) We see that in leaders who accept defeat graciously — the fact that President Mills’ opponents were standing beside him last night to greet me when I came off the plane spoke volumes about Ghana — (applause); victors who resist calls to wield power against the opposition in unfair ways. We see that spirit in courageous journalists like Anas Aremeyaw Anas, who risked his life to report the truth. We see it in police like Patience Quaye, who helped prosecute the first human trafficker in Ghana. (Applause.) We see it in the young people who are speaking up against patronage, and participating in the political process.

Across Africa, we’ve seen countless examples of people taking control of their destiny, and making change from the bottom up. We saw it in Kenya, where civil society and business came together to help stop post-election violence. We saw it in South Africa, where over three-quarters of the country voted in the recent election — the fourth since the end of Apartheid. We saw it in Zimbabwe, where the Election Support Network braved brutal repression to stand up for the principle that a person’s vote is their sacred right.

Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. (Applause.) Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions. (Applause.)

Now, America will not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation. The essential truth of democracy is that each nation determines its own destiny. But what America will do is increase assistance for responsible individuals and responsible institutions, with a focus on supporting good governance — on parliaments, which check abuses of power and ensure that opposition voices are heard — (applause); on the rule of law, which ensures the equal administration of justice; on civic participation, so that young people get involved; and on concrete solutions to corruption like forensic accounting and automating services — (applause) — strengthening hotlines, protecting whistle-blowers to advance transparency and accountability.

And we provide this support. I have directed my administration to give greater attention to corruption in our human rights reports. People everywhere should have the right to start a business or get an education without paying a bribe. (Applause.) We have a responsibility to support those who act responsibly and to isolate those who don’t, and that is exactly what America will do.

Now, this leads directly to our second area of partnership: supporting development that provides opportunity for more people.

With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds the promise of a broader base of prosperity. Witness the extraordinary success of Africans in my country, America. They’re doing very well. So they’ve got the talent, they’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit. The question is, how do we make sure that they’re succeeding here in their home countries? The continent is rich in natural resources. And from cell phone entrepreneurs to small farmers, Africans have shown the capacity and commitment to create their own opportunities. But old habits must also be broken. Dependence on commodities — or a single export — has a tendency to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, and leaves people too vulnerable to downturns.

So in Ghana, for instance, oil brings great opportunities, and you have been very responsible in preparing for new revenue. But as so many Ghanaians know, oil cannot simply become the new cocoa. From South Korea to Singapore, history shows that countries thrive when they invest in their people and in their infrastructure — (applause); when they promote multiple export industries, develop a skilled workforce, and create space for small and medium-sized businesses that create jobs.

As Africans reach for this promise, America will be more responsible in extending our hand. By cutting costs that go to Western consultants and administration, we want to put more resources in the hands of those who need it, while training people to do more for themselves. (Applause.) That’s why our $3.5 billion food security initiative is focused on new methods and technologies for farmers — not simply sending American producers or goods to Africa. Aid is not an end in itself. The purpose of foreign assistance must be creating the conditions where it’s no longer needed. I want to see Ghanaians not only self-sufficient in food, I want to see you exporting food to other countries and earning money. You can do that. (Applause.)

Now, America can also do more to promote trade and investment. Wealthy nations must open our doors to goods and services from Africa in a meaningful way. That will be a commitment of my administration. And where there is good governance, we can broaden prosperity through public-private partnerships that invest in better roads and electricity; capacity-building that trains people to grow a business; financial services that reach not just the cities but also the poor and rural areas. This is also in our own interests — for if people are lifted out of poverty and wealth is created in Africa, guess what? New markets will open up for our own goods. So it’s good for both.

One area that holds out both undeniable peril and extraordinary promise is energy. Africa gives off less greenhouse gas than any other part of the world, but it is the most threatened by climate change. A warming planet will spread disease, shrink water resources, and deplete crops, creating conditions that produce more famine and more conflict. All of us — particularly the developed world — have a responsibility to slow these trends — through mitigation, and by changing the way that we use energy. But we can also work with Africans to turn this crisis into opportunity.

Together, we can partner on behalf of our planet and prosperity, and help countries increase access to power while skipping — leapfrogging the dirtier phase of development. Think about it: Across Africa, there is bountiful wind and solar power; geothermal energy and biofuels. From the Rift Valley to the North African deserts; from the Western coasts to South Africa’s crops — Africa’s boundless natural gifts can generate its own power, while exporting profitable, clean energy abroad.

These steps are about more than growth numbers on a balance sheet. They’re about whether a young person with an education can get a job that supports a family; a farmer can transfer their goods to market; an entrepreneur with a good idea can start a business. It’s about the dignity of work; it’s about the opportunity that must exist for Africans in the 21st century.

Just as governance is vital to opportunity, it’s also critical to the third area I want to talk about: strengthening public health.

In recent years, enormous progress has been made in parts of Africa. Far more people are living productively with HIV/AIDS, and getting the drugs they need. I just saw a wonderful clinic and hospital that is focused particularly on maternal health. But too many still die from diseases that shouldn’t kill them. When children are being killed because of a mosquito bite, and mothers are dying in childbirth, then we know that more progress must be made.

Yet because of incentives — often provided by donor nations — many African doctors and nurses go overseas, or work for programs that focus on a single disease. And this creates gaps in primary care and basic prevention. Meanwhile, individual Africans also have to make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease, while promoting public health in their communities and countries.

So across Africa, we see examples of people tackling these problems. In Nigeria, an Interfaith effort of Christians and Muslims has set an example of cooperation to confront malaria. Here in Ghana and across Africa, we see innovative ideas for filling gaps in care — for instance, through E-Health initiatives that allow doctors in big cities to support those in small towns.

America will support these efforts through a comprehensive, global health strategy, because in the 21st century, we are called to act by our conscience but also by our common interest, because when a child dies of a preventable disease in Accra, that diminishes us everywhere. And when disease goes unchecked in any corner of the world, we know that it can spread across oceans and continents.

And that’s why my administration has committed $63 billion to meet these challenges — $63 billion. (Applause.) Building on the strong efforts of President Bush, we will carry forward the fight against HIV/AIDS. We will pursue the goal of ending deaths from malaria and tuberculosis, and we will work to eradicate polio. (Applause.) We will fight — we will fight neglected tropical disease. And we won’t confront illnesses in isolation — we will invest in public health systems that promote wellness and focus on the health of mothers and children. (Applause.)

Now, as we partner on behalf of a healthier future, we must also stop the destruction that comes not from illness, but from human beings — and so the final area that I will address is conflict.

Let me be clear: Africa is not the crude caricature of a continent at perpetual war. But if we are honest, for far too many Africans, conflict is a part of life, as constant as the sun. There are wars over land and wars over resources. And it is still far too easy for those without conscience to manipulate whole communities into fighting among faiths and tribes.

These conflicts are a millstone around Africa’s neck. Now, we all have many identities — of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st century. (Applause.) Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division. We are all God’s children. We all share common aspirations — to live in peace and security; to access education and opportunity; to love our families and our communities and our faith. That is our common humanity.

That is why we must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never justified — never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology. (Applause.) It is the death sentence of a society to force children to kill in wars. It is the ultimate mark of criminality and cowardice to condemn women to relentless and systemic rape. We must bear witness to the value of every child in Darfur and the dignity of every woman in the Congo. No faith or culture should condone the outrages against them. And all of us must strive for the peace and security necessary for progress.

Africans are standing up for this future. Here, too, in Ghana we are seeing you help point the way forward. Ghanaians should take pride in your contributions to peacekeeping from Congo to Liberia to Lebanon — (applause) — and your efforts to resist the scourge of the drug trade. (Applause.) We welcome the steps that are being taken by organizations like the African Union and ECOWAS to better resolve conflicts, to keep the peace, and support those in need. And we encourage the vision of a strong, regional security architecture that can bring effective, transnational forces to bear when needed.

America has a responsibility to work with you as a partner to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there’s a genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems — they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response.

And that’s why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy and technical assistance and logistical support, and we will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. And let me be clear: Our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa, and the world. (Applause.)

In Moscow, I spoke of the need for an international system where the universal rights of human beings are respected, and violations of those rights are opposed. And that must include a commitment to support those who resolve conflicts peacefully, to sanction and stop those who don’t, and to help those who have suffered. But ultimately, it will be vibrant democracies like Botswana and Ghana which roll back the causes of conflict and advance the frontiers of peace and prosperity.

As I said earlier, Africa’s future is up to Africans.
The people of Africa are ready to claim that future. And in my country, African Americans — including so many recent immigrants — have thrived in every sector of society. We’ve done so despite a difficult past, and we’ve drawn strength from our African heritage. With strong institutions and a strong will, I know that Africans can live their dreams in Nairobi and Lagos, Kigali, Kinshasa, Harare, and right here in Accra. (Applause.)

You know, 52 years ago, the eyes of the world were on Ghana. And a young preacher named Martin Luther King traveled here, to Accra, to watch the Union Jack come down and the Ghanaian flag go up. This was before the march on Washington or the success of the civil rights movement in my country. Dr. King was asked how he felt while watching the birth of a nation. And he said: “It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice.”

Now that triumph must be won once more, and it must be won by you. (Applause.) And I am particularly speaking to the young people all across Africa and right here in Ghana. In places like Ghana, young people make up over half of the population.

And here is what you must know: The world will be what you make of it. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people. You can serve in your communities, and harness your energy and education to create new wealth and build new connections to the world. You can conquer disease, and end conflicts, and make change from the bottom up. You can do that. Yes you can — (applause) — because in this moment, history is on the move.

But these things can only be done if all of you take responsibility for your future. And it won’t be easy. It will take time and effort. There will be suffering and setbacks. But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way — as a partner, as a friend. (Applause.) Opportunity won’t come from any other place, though. It must come from the decisions that all of you make, the things that you do, the hope that you hold in your heart.

Ghana, freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom’s foundation. And if you do, we will look back years from now to places like Accra and say this was the time when the promise was realized; this was the moment when prosperity was forged, when pain was overcome, and a new era of progress began. This can be the time when we witness the triumph of justice once more. Yes we can. Thank you very much. God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END 1:10 P.M. GMT