Kenyan PM: “resources which are spent on constructing weapons can be used to eradicate poverty”

23.07.2009 - Nairobi - Tony Robinson

The Kenyan Prime Minister received a delegation of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence on Tuesday for a half an hour meeting to hear a presentation about the forthcoming global mega-event. During the presentation Odinga expressed his enthusiastic support of the March, declaring it *“an idea whose time has come.”*

Odinga heard in the presentation that although Kenya may not have nuclear bombs, be invading other countries or be at war with her neighbours, the issue of nuclear weapons and military spending is an issue that directly affects Kenyan nationals. Worldwide military expenditure in 2008 totalled an estimated US$1464 billion, according to figures released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in June, according to calculations by Jeffrey Sachs in his 2007 book, “The end of Poverty”, 10% of that would be enough to eradicate poverty. Odinga was left to ponder what could be achieved were 50% to be invested in health, education, infrastructure and development.

Kenya is not without its share of recent turmoil as the general election of December 2007 almost turned into a blood bath of Rwanda-size proportions until both sides took a step back and following the mediation of Kofi Annan, agreed to a government of national unity. Nevertheless before this agreement was reached, hundreds of Kenyans were murdered and hundreds of thousands internally displaced as tribal tensions were incited by rival politicians and revenge was wrought for injustices and land disputes that can be traced back to colonial days.

In other developments regarding the 2007 election violence, on Wednesday members of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission were announced. The commission was a result of the post-election agreement brokered by Annan and has the mandate to *“establish a commission of eminent persons to asses past human rights abuse since Kenya’s independence in 1963 including the post election violence of 2007 and 2008”* according to the official government press statement. *“It aims at bringing perpetrators of human rights violation to justice, promoting national reconciliation and resolving conflict between different groups,”* the statement continued.

The commission will be made up of 6 eminent Kenyans together with 3 members from Zambia, Ethiopia and the USA.

Categories: Africa, International issues

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