Crucial stage for Kenya law review

March 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – The Constitution review process enters a crucial stage this week as debate on the Proposed Constitution kicks off in Parliament on Tuesday.

It is not clear whether President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga will be in the House for the debate but Justice and Constitution Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has indicated that this would give the process a significant boost.

“The President should be the one to second the Motion while the Prime Minister follows to start the debate,” he said in a recent interview.

The Proposed Constitution was laid on the floor of the House on March 2 for the 30-day debate period.

A number of meetings are expected as the elusive consensus building efforts continue. The Parliamentary Caucus for Reforms was scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday to bolster their agenda of building consensus amongst their colleagues outside the House debate.

“We shall be discussing how we shall move forward when the Motion for debate is moved in the House,” said Convener of the group and Garsen MP Danson Mungatana after a meeting of the same group last Friday.

The group had announced that it would be pushing for the botched retreat that would have given the MPs an informal session to seek consensus on the various contentious issues and propose any necessary amendments.

“There is need for all of us to have an understating on the way forward,” Mr Mungatana added.

The Party of National Unity which has been keen on consolidating its party support in pushing for amendments to the proposed law was expected to hold its Parliamentary Group meeting ahead of the debate.

The Orange Democratic Movement on its part has maintained that it supports the current proposed law as it is and said it would be supporting its adoption.

MPs rejected a Motion to adjourn the House last Thursday and proceed to Naivasha for the retreat with a section arguing those fronting it were aiming to mutilate the draft. They challenged their colleagues to bring the debate to the House.

Any amendments to the proposed law must be supported by a two thirds majority which translates to 148 MPs.

If the MPs succeed to move the amendments the Attorney General will be required to redraft the Constitution incorporating the changes.


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