Kenya review process lands in court

December 14, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 14 – A civil society group moved to court on Monday to demand an extension of the 30-day period given to Kenyans to read and critique the Harmonised Draft Constitution.

The National Council of Community-Based Organizations (CBO) says in court papers that millions of Kenyans have not read the draft constitution and make appropriate recommendations.

“That the petitioners have neither seen nor read the Harmonised Draft Constitution,” reads part of the petition filed at the High Court on Monday under a certificate of urgency.

The petition states that “it is unlikely that petitioners will have seen and/or read the report of contentious and non-contentious issues in draft constitution and made their recommendations to the Committee of Experts before the expiry of the 30 days provided.”

The petition was filed by Mbugua Mureithi and Company Advocates on behalf of the CBO council chairman Tom Ondiba Aosa, Saadia Mohammed Ibrahim, Abdi Aziz Mohammed Ali and Hassan Abdi Hure.

The Committee of Experts is listed as the first respondent and Attorney General Amos Wako as the second.

The petitioners state in their suit papers that by giving Kenyans only 30 days to read the Harmonised Draft Constitution, the Committee of Experts violated the rights of Kenyans under section 47A of the Constitution which calls for meaningful participation in the review of the Constitution before the final draft is taken to the referendum.

They cited Section 60 (A) of the Constitution which states that jurisdiction for resolution of disputes arising from the Constitution review process as contained in the Constitution Review Act is vested exclusively in the Interim Independent Constitutional Resolution Court which they said has not been set up by the AG.

The petitioners were seeking a declaration by the court to recognise the fact that, “real disputes have arisen in the constitution review process particularly on the issues of publication and dissemination of the Harmonised Draft Constitution and availability of realistic and meaningful opportunity by the petitioners to contribute to the draft.”

They are also seeking “an order of prohibition to the Committee of Experts from carrying out any further steps in the review process of the Constitution under the Constitution of Kenya Review Act 2008 until such time as the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court under Section 60A of the Constitution is made operational, functional and has published its rules and procedures.”

On Monday evening, the Chairman of the MEGA Welfare Initiative Society Kamau Macuha and Wanguhu Ng’ang’a said they too intended to file another petition on Tuesday.

A copy of the petition they intends to file and which was seen by Capital News seeks for “writs of prohibition prohibiting the respondents from causing the Harmonised Draft Constitution from proceeding to the referendum process without first publishing fully in the local print media the entire contentious issues and giving Kenyans time not exceeding six months to review the same.”

They named the AG, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo and the Committee of Experts as respondents.


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