Civil society claims stake in constitution making

August 29, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 29 – The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) has rejected calls by Prime Minister Raila Odinga to lock out the civil society from the constitution making process.

CMD Chairman Professor Lawrence Gumbe is instead proposing the formation of a national committee of 200 delegates to work on the constitution within 30 days.

It also wants an inclusive council formed to negotiate and give leadership to the review process.

The council, comprising of different representatives including a committee of experts would work on a draft that would be presented to the delegates for deliberation.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Gumbe said Odinga’s proposed team of only seven experts was not representative of the country.

“We are asking for only a group of 200 people to work with the team of experts, and for only 30 days,” he said.

The PM had called for a lean team, arguing that there was no point of involving many delegates since most of the work had already been done.

He instead has proposed a committee of experts to harmonise the Bomas and Kilifi drafts, especially the contentious issues that led to the collapse of the past review process.

However, CMD has now called for the withdrawal of the two constitution Bills that are pending in Parliament.

Gumbe said the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill and the Constitution of Kenya Review Bill were making it difficult to deliver a new constitution within one year.

The civil society has presented its own raft of amendments, including a proposal for the creation of a Senate to select the President, a move that, they argue, would reduce tribalism.


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