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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2005, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Press fears for new constitution
Kenyan activists kneel down on the road as riot police stop them in Nairobi
Opponents of the constitution took to the streets of Nairobi in protest
Kenya's papers see trouble ahead following parliament's approval of a new draft constitution which keeps strong executive powers in the hands of the country's president.

With a referendum on the document due later in the year, The Standard borrows a sporting analogy for its assessment of events.

"In football terms," it argues, "we are headed for a do-or-die tie that will shape our destiny."

As things stand, the paper says, question marks remain over the shape of the new constitution.

"Several legal technicalities stand in the way of the amendments passed, and could torpedo the process if not handled fast and tactfully," it warns.

And with the Kenyan leadership "torn down the middle", the paper believes the time has come for senior politicians to cast their differences aside and work together in the run-up to the referendum.

"Let's not suffer the curse of a people who cannot rise above petty animosity and distrust."

'High-voltage politics'

This distrust was evident in the days leading up to the vote, with protests on the streets of Nairobi and intense debate within parliament.

As far as The Nation is concerned, things are likely to get worse.

"The high-voltage politics played out so far," it predicts, "is likely to be replayed on an even greater scale during the period leading up to the referendum."

Our MPs went flat out to place their selfish partisan interests ahead of the good of the nation
People Daily

But one answer may be to ensure that voters are well informed.

Civil society groups, the paper insists, "should be at the front line in mobilising resources and conducting civic education".

But for the People Daily, it is the politicians rather than the voters who need educating.

"Our MPs," it complains, "went flat out to place their selfish partisan interests ahead of the good of the nation."

And yet, the paper adds, the disagreements in parliament accurately reflect a broader divide in public opinion.

"It would be dangerous for the country, " it warns, "if some regions refuse to accept the new constitution."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

Kenyan MPs approve constitution
22 Jul 05 |  Africa
Kenyan police battle protesters
20 Jul 05 |  Africa

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