PSC champions consensus on Kenyan law

January 11, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitution Review Abdikadir Mohammed has discouraged the proposal for a Yes – Yes referendum which is being touted as a better compromise for the review process.

Mr Mohammed said on Monday that although this arrangement would ensure the country gets a Constitution at the referendum, it is likely to result to a country divided right in the middle and lead a repeat of the disastrous 2005 referendum.

He said the revelation by the Committee of Experts (CoE) that the country is equally divided between a Presidential and Parliamentary systems means that any outcome constitution would result to one substantive aggrieved side. He warned of heated campaigns synonymous to 2005.

“There is a very likelihood that there could be very close outcome – say 51percent versus 49 percent – and immediately you would have half the country saying that is not their Constitution while the other side would be feeling they own the Constitution,” he said.

“You can divide the country until the general election.”

The PSC received the draft from the experts on Friday and now has 18 days to make its recommendations to the CoE.

Mr Mohammed said the PSC members were taking the week to study the document and seek consensus from their parties as well as give the Coalition Management Team time to bridge their differences on the system of government.

The Orange Democratic Movement and the Party of National Unity have differed sharply on the system of government with PNU supporting a Presidential system while ODM is stuck on a Parliamentary one. There has been a proposal from across the board to amend the constitution and provide for two drafts, each on the two systems and let the electorate decide.

The coalition partners held separate talks on Monday reportedly on the draft law. Reports indicated that the twin meetings were strategic to help the parties come up with common positions ahead of next week’s retreat for the PSC in Naivasha.

“We are interested in dialogue to look for the best solution to these matters again to move from conflict through compromise to consensus,” he said.

The Experts have settled on a hybrid system as ‘a compromise’ arrangement of the disagreement.

“Voting counts in the committee but our tradition has been on consensus,” Mr Mohammed said.


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