Kenyan activists cry foul on debate

December 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13 – Civil society groups working towards the realisation of a new constitution have told off critics of the harmonised draft, accusing them of trying to scuttle the review process.

National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) President Morris Odhiambo claimed on Sunday that some groups were using varied methods to derail the review process for their own interest.

“We have seen distortion of what is contained in the harmonised draft aimed at frustrating the process by the political elite,” he charged.

He cited the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), the Kenya Church Constitutional Forum – which is an umbrella of evangelical churches – as some of groups that are misleading Kenyans.

“Kenyans have been informed enough to judge for themselves whose these anti-reform and reactionary groups are, what they have stood for over the years and what they stand for now.”

Mr Odhiambo said the NCCK had been misleading Kenyans following their recent calls for minimum reforms.

“The call for minimum reforms should be discarded by all Kenyans as it will entrench impunity and serve the status quo which will delay the process,” he said.

The lobby groups also took issue with the evangelical churches for their vehement opposition to inclusion of the Kadhi\’s court. The move comes barely a week after the civil society accused Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Robinson Githae of misleading Kenyans by claiming that provisions on devolution would lead to some people being evicted from their current regions of residence.

The lobbyists have also opposed the extension of the December 17 deadline set out by law for Kenyans to read and propose amendments to the draft, saying extension of time would stifle the process.

According to them the time set out is enough for the country and called on Kenyans to read the draft carefully before the end of the deadline.

In addition, they also opposed the calls by various individuals that the CoE should present two drafts on either parliamentary or presidential system of government.

“We urge the political elite and class not to cement their personal interest illegitimately, but should seek the views from the electorate.”

Mr Odhiambo also called for the retention of the recall clause that will see Kenyans sacking non performing MPs before the end of their terms.


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