30 day debate for new Kenyan law faulted

November 11, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – A section of the Civil Society is pushing for the extension of the 30-day period provided for members of the public to scrutinise the harmonized draft constitution once it is published.

The activists have expressed fears that the time is not enough to generate sufficient feedback from the citizenry. The Executive Secretary of the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium Kawive Wambua said on Wednesday that the stipulated time given was inadequate to cover dissemination of the draft, awareness and sufficient feedback.

“It is a logistical nightmare to release a draft from the center and start counting days.  Let us say it gets to Ijara on day 14… there will definitely be inequality in access,” he said.

Mr Wambua proposed the time be increased to 90 days.

“Being an ordinary law, Parliament can change it (scrutiny period) by a simple majority. What is wrong with building national consensus?” he wondered.

According to the Committee of Experts, the final draft will be published within this month after which Kenyans will have the opportunity to scrutinise it and make proposals for amendments.
The former Chairman of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission Yash Pal Ghai on his part urged Kenyans to fully exploit the scrutiny period and ensure that the draft reflects the wishes of the majority.

Prof Ghai is calling for the creation of panels of eminent persons bringing together professionals, academicians and other key stakeholders to give objective inputs.

“We need to give some proper thoughts on how we could have informed debate about the pros and cons of the new Constitution,” Prof Ghai said adding that the State could fund such panels. 

“We should not leave the campaigning for the draft to the political parties alone because the last time these brought divisions.”

The Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review is mandated to incorporate the amendments that will be proposed into the final draft that will go to Parliament for debate and adoption. After adoption by the House the proposed law will be ready for the referendum scheduled to take place sometime next year.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed