Jubilant Kenyans usher in new constitution

Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:28am GMT

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By Wangui Kanina

NAIROBI, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Cheered by hundreds of thousands of jubilant Kenyans waving national flags, President Mwai Kibaki signed a new constitution on Friday that curbs his sweeping powers and strengthens civic rights.

In a ceremony full of military pomp and traditional dance, Kenyans packed Nairobi's Uhuru Park -- or Freedom Park -- to see their leaders take fresh oaths under the first overhaul of the charter since 1963.

"I am here to witness the rebirth of our nation. It has been 40 years since our first constitution was made, this is a new dawn because we will realise development and the rights of Kenyans will be respected. It's a happy day for Kenyans," said Charles Oduor in the heaving crowd.

East Africa's largest economy endorsed the document in a peaceful referendum this month, as one of the reforms agreed upon to end months of murderous violence that erupted following a disputed presidential election at the end of 2007.

"No one could have thought that out of the bitter harvest of the disputed election and the violence that pitted our people against each other just two years ago, we would be witnessing today the birth of a national unity that has eluded us for more than 40 years," Prime Minister Raila Odinga said to constant cheering.   Continued...

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