, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have assured Kenyans of their total commitment to the constitutional review process.
Speaking on Tuesday during a meeting with members of the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review at Harambee House, the two Principals said they would give all the required support to ensure the review process is completed within the stipulated time.
President Kibaki commended the Committee of Experts for their all-inclusive approach to the constitutional review process and urged them to come up with an effective easy-to-read document that will address the aspirations of all Kenyans.
“Let us have a good easy-to-read and easily-understood constitution that all Kenyans will be proud of,” the Head of State said.
The President appealed to legislators and other groups to put aside individual interests and support the committee of experts, saying there should be no grand-standing on the review process.
President Kibaki pointed out that Kenyans have waited too long for a new constitution and the existing goodwill should be exploited fully to ensure a new constitution is in place within the one year period agreed on.
“I also assure you of my total support and that of the Grad Coalition Government,” the Head of State said.
On his part, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that the Committee of Experts has within a short time identified the contentious issues and come with a roadmap that will ensure Kenyans have a new constitution.
The Prime Minister said the Government is committed to reforms and will provide the requisite resources to the Committee of Experts on the Constitution to facilitate their work.
“We do not want you to have any excuse. That is why we are committing ourselves to provide all the resources you require in your work,” the Prime Minister told the committee of experts.
Appraising the President and the Prime Minister on their progress, the Committee of Experts led by its Chairman Nzamba Kitonga, said they have jointly considered all the draft constitutions, the various background reports by the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and subsequent documents including the Naivasha Accord, the Kilifi document and the Kiplagat Report.
The committee also said they have considered the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Act (2008) and the Constitution of Kenya Review Act (2008) and made proposals on relevant amendments that are now contained in the Statute Laws (miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2009.
They said they have developed rules of procedures to guide the committee on its activities and engagement with others, including ensuring public participation and identification of contentious issues.
To resolve the contentious issues, the Committee of Experts has developed principles that best serve the interests of Kenya as a whole and they expect to present the initial Harmonised Draft Constitution to the Parliamentary Select Committee around August this year.
Present were Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo, Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti and his Lands counterpart James Orengo, Attorney-General Amos Wako and the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb Francis Muthaura among others.