Kenya PM pledge on new constitution

August 2, 2009 12:00 am

, MERU, Kenya, Aug 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has hinted that a draft constitution would be ready before the end of the year now that contentious issues that dogged the exercise have been resolved.

He said almost of the thorny clauses that polarised nation leading to the rejection of a proposed constitution during the 2005 referendum were amicably ironed out.

He said the document would be ready by December after leaders from divergent political opinions reached consensus over issues pertaining to devolution of executive power and the inception of a federal system of governance was determined.

The premier told a funds-drive in Meru town that the political leadership in the country was in agreement to push for the enactment of the Bomas document and expressed optimism that the draft was likely to sail through.

He however censored a section of the clergy for sparking undue controversy in the constitution making process by opposition the inclusion of the Khadi’s courts in the draft document arguing that the clause was only applicable to those who profess to Islam.

"We have had the Khadi’s courts in our constitution since independence and we have had no problem with it to warrant the recent protest to expunge related clauses from the draft" Mr Odinga stressed.

The Premier spoke when he presided over celebrations marking this year’s Meru Catholic Diocese family day held at Consolata Primary School, Gitoro.

He assured Meru residents that the grand coalition government was determined to put in place radical institutional reforms in the police and judiciary to weed out malpractices with hopes to regain the confidence of the public on the institutions.

Mr Odinga said the coalition wanted to redeem the tainted image of the two government departments adding other reforms in the land, electoral and establishment of a boundary commission to demarcate regions were underway.

"The Cabinet has already approved the first ever post independence land policy and the document is set to be tabled in parliament soon for debate," he said.

On the raging debate over the fate of the suspects of the post election violence, the premier said although the coalition wanted reconciliation among the hostile ethnic groupings, perpetrators of the atrocities must face justice.

He at the same time announced government plans to convene a national tribal leader’s conference in future to pacify and unite all communities in the country to ensure that national values and patriotism was upheld.

"The government plans to bring all tribal elders to conference to discuss on how best they can help in resolving recurrence of ethnic related skirmishes  for posterity and peaceful co existence of all communities" Mr Odinga informed the congregation.

He expressed concern over the worrying security situation in the upper Eastern region following an upsurge of inter communal  related conflicts and directed security agencies to firmly deal with those behind such attacks.

The premier was accompanied by cabinet Minister Kiraitu Murungi , Joe Nyaga and Imenti North MP Silas Muriuki among other Members of Parliament and leaders from the Meru region.


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