Kenya politicians challenged over law review

March 10, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10 – Politicians have been urged to put their differences aside and unite in the formulation of a new Constitution.

Justice Minister Martha Karua said on Tuesday that it was only through concerted efforts that a comprehensive document can be drafted.

“The exercise is not to find who previously stood on the high moral ground; it is to find how the two can come together and move forward,” the Justice Minister stated.

She appealed to the lawmakers to take the interests of Kenyans at heart as they endeavour to find a way forward.

“As we engage as politicians, we ask you to represent the people with that voice of reason which reminds us that it is not a political battle. It is a serious exercise,” she told a meeting of media owners and editors.

She also called for flexibility from all involved so that they come up with an all inclusive Constitution.

“The document I think comes very near to Kenyans’ aspiration is the Wako draft, then a colleague on the opposite side will stand and say we do not need any other document other than the Bomas draft,” she explained.

She said that all divergent views will be considered and streamlined into the process so as to come up with a hybrid document.

“If we are sanctifying one document and not willing to be flexible, we are suggesting that we are not ready for dialogue,” she further said.

Meanwhile Ms Karua has disclosed that the government has operationalised the Truth Justice and Reconciliation (TJRC) Act together with the National Cohesion and Integration Act.

She said that the TJRC Act which took effect on March 8 would go a long way in addressing injustices like the post-election violence.

She pointed out that the first step would be the hiring of commissioners of integrity to the Commission.

“The first activity under the TJRC Act will be to put together the commission itself and then the nominating bodies will then sit and be able to advertise, interview and hire commissioners,” Ms Karua said.

She called on the media to play their role in the working of a new Constitution.

 “We will need very serious and dedicated input from you on these issues. We will remain open to explain where any explanation is needed,” she said.

Following the violence triggered by the controversial 2007 presidential elections, the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Committee, led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, proposed the formation of a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Committee to examine historical injustices from Kenya’s independence up to February 2008. 

The proposal for the creation of the Commission was accepted and the government subsequently drafted a law on the formation of the TJRC.


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