Kenya law review enters critical stage

January 25, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIVASHA, Kenya, Jan 25 – The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Constitution resumed talks on the revised draft constitution early on Monday hoping to beat a Wednesday deadline.

The Members who had reported back to the Great Rift Valley Lodge on Sunday evening started deliberations shortly after 8am. The team had taken the weekend break after meeting for five days last week in which considerable agreements were made including a Presidential system, 18 regions, a 356 member-Parliament and a 54-member Senate.

Lined on the table for debate this week are the finer details of devolution in which they will be weighing between the Majimbo backed regional governments (proposed by the Orange Democratic Movement) and the resource backed system fronted by the Party of National Unity. The team will also be seeking appropriate checks and balances for the Presidency and also finalise on the question of representation.

“We will also be looking into matters concerning the Police, the Judiciary and the transitional clauses,” Vice Chairman Ababu Namwamba told Capital News on phone.

The emotive debate on land and the environment will also be discussed this week.

A proposal to merge the regular police and the Administration Police (AP) is expected to pose a challenge. Whilst the Committee of Experts (CoE) entrenched the Police Service, it provided for the creation of the AP through Acts of Parliament.

On the Judiciary, the team will be looking at the consequences of provisions requiring all judges to apply for their jobs afresh and a fair compensation package for those who choose to exit.

The team has promised to release a report of its agreements on Wednesday before officially handing it to the CoE.

The PSC received the revised draft from the experts over two weeks ago and has until this Friday to submit amendments and recommendations for incorporation. The experts will have three weeks to incorporate the views and submit a final document for debate and adoption by the National Assembly.

The team has altered most of the views of the experts raising concerns from a section of the civil society. The group has accused the team of overstepping its mandate by discussing matters that initially were not termed contentious.

The Parliamentarians have come under fire by deleting any reference of the civil society and declining to entrench the Human Rights and Gender Commission in the Constitution. They have also been criticised for apparently ‘watering down’ the Bill of Rights.

The PSC has however received big accolades from the political class for making ‘momentous agreements’ especially on the structure of government and representation without much haggling.


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