Kenya defends its reform record

October 5, 2009 12:00 am

, In a meeting held between His Excellency the President Hon. Mwai Kibaki, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga and H.E. Kofi Annan this afternoon, the leaders reviewed the progress the Grand Coalition Government has made and continues to make on the implementation of Reform Agenda 4.

In that regard, they took stock of the progress made by the Coalition Government on the implementation of the reform agenda. The following emerged as the factual status of the Reform implementation:

1.    Constitutional Review Process
 – The Constitutional Review Committee of Experts established by Parliament that has been in place since March 2009 is making tremendous progress in its work.  In April – May 2009, the Committee invited the public to submit their views on the contentious issues. On this basis the Committee analysed the submissions and on this basis identified three major issues of contention: namely the system of Government, levels of devolution of power and transitional provisions. At this time, the Committee is meeting various stakeholders to discuss scenarios for the resolution of these issues.

– The Committee will soon publish a harmonized draft for discussion by the public.

2.    Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission  ( TJRC)
 – The commission is not going to handle perpetrators of post-election violence but will deal within its mandate of correcting historical injustices and bringing about national reconciliation.

 – The names of the Commissioners were approved by Parliament on June 2 2009.  Commissioners were appointed by the President on the 22nd of July 2009.

– Commissioners sworn in on 3rd August 2009.

– The Commission is currently setting up its secretariat.

– The Commission held a team building retreat from 4th – 6th August 2009.

 – An induction seminar has also been held bringing together experts from Ghana, Sierra Leone and South Africa to advice the commission on how best to carry out its mandate.

3.    Interim Independent Electoral Commission( IIEC)
 – Commission appointed on 7th May 2009.

– As part of the settling down the Commission held a team building retreat from 3rd- 5th June 2009 and participated in the joint induction of IIEC and IIBRC held from 6th – 8th July 2009. A National Conference on Electoral Reforms was held on 12th – 14th August 2009.

– Since appointment, the commission has been settling down and organizing its work.

– It has already advertised for critical staff

– They have successfully organized the registration of voters and the elections in Shinyalu and Bamachoge

– The commission has started the process of national voter registration.

4.    Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission ( IIBRC) 
 – IIBRC was formally appointed on 12th May 2009 and sworn in on 18th May 2009

– As part of the preparatory process, IIBRC held its team building retreat from  8th – 9th June 2009 and participated in the Joint induction held from 6th – 8th July 2009 and the  National Conference on Electoral Reforms held from 12th – 14th August 2009

– The Committee has since its appointment been settling down and planning for its work. The Committee will in October roll -out public hearings to receive views on the delimitation of boundaries

– The work by the committee will be harmonized with the formula adopted by the new constitution.

5.    Task Force on Police Reforms.

– To augment and accelerate police reforms, the Government established a multidisciplinary task force on police reforms in May 2008 with a mandate period of 3 months.

– The Task Force presented its interim report to H.E The President on Wednesday 26th August 2009. Some of the recommendations of the task-force have already been implemented.

– The mandate of the Task Force was extended to look at additional issues and its report is expected this month.

6.    Task Force on Judicial Reforms

– The Government appointed a multi-disciplinary Task Force on the 29th of May 2009 to look into the ways of accelerating judicial reforms.

– The Task Force presented an interim report on 29th June 2009 and a final report on the 10th of August 2009.

– The report has been forwarded to Cabinet for approval before implementation can commence.

– Once the report is approved by Cabinet, a bill will be presented to Parliament for approval.

Main recommendations include

– Measures to address backlog including hire of additional personnel( increase Judges of Appeal to 30 and puisne Judges to 120, appointment of Commissioner of assize and recruitment of additional Magistrates)  standardization of court processes; automation of court processes;  establishment of weekend and 24hr courts, introduction of small claims courts; review of court procedures and processes; enhancement of legal aid, introduction of ADR: specific measures to address traffic cases (spot fines, better information management)

– Enhancing  the operational autonomy and independence of JSC through enactment of Judicial Service Bill

– Introduction of permanent mechanisms to handle complaints against judicial officers

– Better working environment to attract and retain high quality staff

– Strengthening of judicial administration and processes

– Addition funding to the Judiciary pegged at 1% of the National Budget to implement these changes over a period of time.


7.     Land Reforms
 – For the first time since independence, the Grand Coalition Government has prepared a comprehensive land policy. This long awaited Land   Policy was approved by Cabinet on 25th June 2009.    A Sessional paper will be tabled in Parliament when Parliament resumes and the policy should be adopted by the end of this year.

– The policy addresses critical issues such as land administration, access to land, land use planning, restitution of historical injustices, environmental degradation, conflicts, unplanned proliferation of informal urban settlements, outdated legal framework, institutional framework and information management. It also addresses constitutional issues, such as the eminent domain and the police power as well as tenure systems.

– The Government has now commenced the operationalization of the Policy

   Key priorities in implementation include :-

– Harmonization of land laws to ensure better and more effective land administration , 

– Repossession of public land that had hitherto been allocated to private individuals

– Development of a land use master plan to guide the optimal utilization of land resources

8.     Youth Unemployment

– The Government has undertaken several measures to reduce poverty and empower Wananchi, majority of whom are Youth.

– This year, the Government has come up with a devolved budget to the constituencies.

– There is also targeted subsidies to the urban poor and to farmers.

– Youth unemployment is  being addressed through various strategies  including

– Investment in youth education and vocational training ( through the implementation of the Youth Marshal Plan )

– The Youth Fund – providing funds to enable  youth invest in gainful activities . Govt contribution  to the Fund is growing by the year.

– Kazi Kwa Vijana Programme launched by the Government in March 2009 aims at engaging youth in labour intensive activities and projects of Government. The Project will costs  Kshs. 15 Billion and is designed to create 300,000 new jobs every year for the Youth.

On the issue of Constitutional Review, the Grand Coalition government is committed to finalizing the review on time.  The Grand Coalition Government has resolved to deal with all the contentious issues as a Coalition Government.

On the issue of the Trial of perpetrators of post-election Violence, the Grand Coalition Government opted to accord priority to reconciliation while leaving the door open for the suspects bearing the greatest responsibility over the post-election violence to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

In the meantime, the Coalition Government is accelerating the reform of the Judiciary to be better placed to handle the bulk of the cases. The grand Coalition Government is committed to ending impunity and to emerge the observance of the rule of Law.

Under the circumstances the overall progress made by the Grand Coalition Government in the implementation of the reform program is impressive.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed