Kenyans reject Parliamentary governance

May 7, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7- Kenya may not be ready for a pure Parliamentary system of governance as anticipated, according to a new survey.

An opinion poll released by Transparency International on Thursday showed that majority of Kenyans preferred a hybrid of both presidential and parliamentary systems with sharing of executive powers between a President and Prime Minister.

53 percent of the respondents supported the arrangement while 32 percent vouched for the retention of the current arrangement which vests all the executive powers on the presidency, the National Accord not withstanding.

“Despite the disaffection with the current performance of the coalition, only 15 percent of the respondents support a government in which the Prime Minister exclusively exercises executive power,” TI Executive Director Job Ogoda said.

Mr Ogoda however said that judging from the current system, there was potential for wrangles.

“If you look at the political history of India, Belgium and France you will find that the hybrid system creates political deadlock. However in those countries you will find the acutest sense of democracy,” Mr Ogoda said.

The poll showed that 60 percent of those interviewed also vouched for devolution of power into the districts supporting the idea of ‘Majimbo’ that has remained controversial within the political circles. However the survey revealed that a good section of the citizenry understood the true meaning of this concept. 41 percent defined this as the sharing of national resources across different regions.

The survey carried out last week was done through random sampling and was administered to 1,402 respondents. The survey was meant to gauge the mood of the citizenry towards the constitution making process. However 80 percent of the respondents expressed concerns that it is likely that the country will get the new law in one year as promised.

“The greatest challenge in attaining the law was political interference. The next one was the grand coalition uprisings,” he said.

Mr Ogoda was however quick to state that the civil society movement could be forced to call for mass action against the political class incase they sensed any political subversion to the process.

A committee of experts is currently working to harmonise past documents, mainly the Wako and Bomas drafts. The committee has set Friday next week as the deadline for receiving written memorandums on any contentious issue from interest groups.

Meanwhile, former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua has denied claims that the committee had not been allocated enough resources. Ms Karua said that the Ministry had set aside at least Sh300 million for the committee prior to her exit but it took time to settle down.

“They were supposed to set up their system so that the money could be sent to their account. Whether it is procedures they have not been able to handle I don’t know,” she said.

The Gichugu MP adds that the Ministry had already secured office space for the committee but the members declined to take it up prompting a new search.


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