The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: State House Cancels National Dialogue Conference

State House has announced that it has postponed indefinitely a national dialogue conference it was planning to convene next month.

A statement by State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu stated that the national dialogue, dubbed The National Rebirth Conference, has been put off due to politicization of the issue.

Esipisu said the dialogue was initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January as part of the Government's Social Transformation Agenda.

"The dates of the conference are not yet set, but had been proposed for July, 2014 - we will advice all Kenyans once a date is established. However, after the politicization of the conference, it has now been postponed indefinitely," a statement by Esipisu read.

State House added that those who were to be invited included Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Amani coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi, as well as the Speakers of both Houses.

Esipisu explained that several heads of state and governments were also to be invited. They include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Jorge Carlos Fonseca (Cape Verde), Prime Minister of Mauritius Navin Ramgoolam, former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and former Prime Minister of New Zealand and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

Cord, headed by Raila, has clashed with government over calls by the opposition for an inclusive national dialogue. Cord has threatened to organize demonstrations on July 7 if Jubilee fails to organize the national dialogue as demanded.

Yesterday, State House said the now-called-off conference was to have been an all-inclusive platform to generate concrete transformative proposals that would guide national policymaking across constituent parts of Kenyan society.

"Essentially, it was a concept that will be a guide towards the achievement and attainment of a national rebirth through a process that would be led by all leaders, and one that will culminate in the transformation of our society through the firm adoption of our national values and principles," said Esipisu.

He added that the conference was to include sessions on social transformation for national development, the role of institutions in driving national social transformation and the role of political leaders in the attainment of national transformation.

State House explained that the conference was being organized and coordinated by a committee, co-chaired by the UN resident coordinator. The technical committee includes teams from the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, headed by PS Peter Mangiti, United Nations Development Programme Kenya, led by Nardos Bekele-Thomas, teams from the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), the Chamber of Commerce and religious institutions, among others.

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