, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) has lauded the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) for the recommendations it made during the Naivasha retreat.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli said on Saturday that it is now crucial for a new Constitution to be realised as soon as possible.
“We need a new Constitution like yesterday. Within a span of one month, a new draft was unveiled and it was therefore for you to look at it and recommend any changes. All of this was because of the pressure that this Central Organisation of Trade Unions had put on,” he stated.
He was speaking during a meeting of 220 COTU delegates on Agenda 4, where it was also resolved that the organisation would work towards the realisation, management and implementation of the new Constitution before and after its inception.
“We the bonafide delegates do hereby adopt the resolution to authorise and empower the Secretariat and the entire executive board of COTU to politically, socially and economically champion the course of the new Constitution,” the resolution read in part.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) on Friday handed over a “politically negotiated revised draft constitution” to the Committee of Experts renewing hopes in the two decade quest for a new law.
PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed presented on a 252-article draft mainly of broad governance principles to the experts – a reduction from the earlier 310 articles. He reiterated that contentious issues were resolved on consensus and challenged the experts to input their expertise and reflect their resolutions.
Mohammed defended the move by his committee to trim the document saying this would be complemented by Acts of Parliament.
Committee of Experts (CoE) Chairman Nzamba Kitonga pledged to amend the document in line with the PSC recommendations. He, in the meantime, challenged the parliamentarians to hold onto the agreements they made in Naivasha and avoid the usual scenarios where members disown committee resolutions at public rallies.
The PSC spent nearly two weeks in Naivasha to gain consensus on the document. Key agreements of the team include a pure Presidential system of government, a 349- member Parliament, a 47-member Senate and a two-tier devolution comprising the national government and 47 counties
The parliamentarians also resolved to entrench the Teachers Service Commission, the National Land Commission and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission into the Constitution. The team created the Internal Security Service Commission (to encompass the regular Police and the Administration Police) and a new human rights body – the Equality Commission.
To strengthen devolution, the committee has proposed that 15 percent of total State revenue be allocated to the counties.