Jurists extol Kenya draft law

January 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, January 29  – The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya chapter) has lauded the Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC) “for a job well done” in debating the harmonised draft constitution.

Chairman Albert Kamunde said that their efforts showed the commitment of leaders to give Kenyans a new constitution.

He is urging for patience as the PSC prepares to submit its recommendations to the Committee of Experts on Friday.

“I think the PSC is doing a vital job, they have been working day and night so to speak so I think that they are doing a good job.  I am hoping and I trust that there will be a positive result and we will have a document very soon,” he said.

The ICJ chairman however called on Kenyans to scrutinise the changes made and contribute towards making the document all inclusive.

“It is good for everybody to be vigilant, and see what changes they have proposed and also give their views about it,” he stressed.

“This is a process and a negotiation and it is something which is bound to keep changing and every Kenyan needs to state what needs to be done.”

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review wound up its retreat in Naivasha on Thursday with broad consensus on various contentious issues.

They revised the number of proposed MPs, this time to 349 and removed a requirement for all judges to resign and be subjected to fresh vetting.

Apart from removing the requirement for judges to re-apply for their jobs, the PSC provided for the Chief Justice’s appointment to be initiated by the Judicial Service Commission, nominated by the President and approved by Parliament.

The PSC also reduced the authority of the Senate, making it lower to the National Assembly and with no powers to make laws.

The MPs reached consensus on the structure of security organs, and further resolved to retain the Provincial Administration which will be structured to suit a devolved government.

The Committee agreed to allow dual citizenship.  “A citizen of Kenya by birth does not lose his citizenship by acquiring another citizenship,” they said.
Three organs of National Security namely Kenya Defence Forces, National Intelligence Service and Kenya Internal Security Services – the latter to include the Kenya Police and Administration Police, and headed by Inspector General were also set up.

The President will be elected by universal suffrage, 50 per cent +1 and 25 percent in more than half of the counties.

The election of the President will also be held separately from the National Assembly elections.


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