Besieged Somali President Sheikh Sheriff Ahmed Sheriff, is one of the 10 or so heads of state invited to attend the promulgation of Kenya's new constitution Friday, Head of the Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Muthaura, announced here Wednesday.
Kenya's new constitution has elicited international attention as a result of the post-election violence two years ago that added Kenya to the league of unstable African nations.
Outlining the programme for the promulgation of the new constitution, Muthaura said 'Also on the guest list is South Sudan's President Slava Kiir, who is involved in a fierce campaign for autonomy from the north in a referendum set for January.'
However, Sudanese President Hassan Omar el-Bashir, who has Kiir as his deputy in the national government, will not be making the trip as a result of the International Criminal Court's warrants of arrest hanging over his head.
In a media briefing, Muthaura said President Sheriff, who on Tuesday lost 20 members of parliament in a suicide attack in Somali capital, Mogadishu, had confirmed his attendance, the turmoil back in his country notwithstanding.
'The presidents in the East African Community bloc and four other countries have confirmed their attendance. We also received confirmations from the Panel of African Personalities who were involved in resolving the 2008 post-election violence ,' said Muthaura.
Members of the panel, chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, were former Tanzania president Benjamin Mkapa, former South African first lady Graca Marcel-Mandela and former Nigerian Foreign Minister, Prof Oluyemi Adeniji Security in and around Nairobi moved up to red alert level following the arrest of three Tanzanian nationals in Kenya at the weekend with hand grenades and assortment of other explosives and ammunitions.
Following the security threats, Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere said security agencies had been deployed to the city.
Over the past two weeks, Kenyan police have arrested over 100 Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean nationals who were allegedly being trafficked to South Africa by a syndicate linked to Somali businessmen.
The high security alert was also necessitated by the twin bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in May that killed 76 people and similar explosions in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where six people died. While Somali militant groups claimed responsibility for the attacks in Uganda, the one Rwanda is still unresolved.
Kenya hosts more than a million Somali refugees in camps in the north. The capital is also home to Somali businessmen with links to the Al Shaabab militiamen who claimed responsibility for the suicide attacks on Tuesday that killed the Somali MPs and the Kampala bombings.
During constitutional referendum, three grenades were hurled at a campaign rally in central Nairobi killing six people. The constitutional promulgation ceremony will be held at the same venue, hence the high security alert.
The police commissioner announced that given the significance of the occasion all roads leading into and out of Nairobi, especially from the city two main airports, would be closed until Friday evening.
Nairobi - Pana 25/08/2010
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