Kenya prepares to give new law validity

August 6, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 6 – The government says it will now give priority to the giving legitimacy to the newly passed Constitution, within the set time-frame.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said the new law has a tight timeline of setting up structures which should be given precedence.

He urged those who want amendments to contribute in Parliament when MPs debate the relevant Bills for implementation.

"I think there those who had not read and understood this document, but now we want them to understand that the contents of the draft were approved by a majority of Kenyans. Let them not cheat themselves; let them use the avenues provided in the document and then come and seek dialogue," said the Minister on Friday.

Cabinet Minister William Ruto has called for negotiations on the contentious issues saying the two million-plus Kenyans who voted against the document should not be ignored.

Mr Kilonzo however says the government will concentrate on the implementation of the Constitution.

"Our work is cut out for us.  If we don’t pass a law within a particular time, you can go to the Chief Justice to have Parliament dissolved for failing to pass a consequential legislation. This is no longer a joke, your country has changed (and) the sooner we embrace it the better," he said.

During the campaigns, President Mwai Kibaki pledged that negotiations for amendments will be put in place after the referendum but never gave a timeline.

Mr Kilonzo has also called on Kenyans to sustain pressure on Parliament to ensure that it delivers on the proposed legislations and supporting structures in the new Constitution.

He said the first challenge of the implementing the new Constitution will be seen next Tuesday when Parliament resumes.

The commission shall stand dissolved five years after it is established or at the full implementation of the constitution as determined by Parliament.

"We have a shortage of time because in 90 days we must have that commission on the ground because it takes full responsibility for implementation," he said.

The Minister will also seek Parliament to approve the Elections Bill which will among others overhaul the mode of voting used in the country and allow for the use of electronic voting system.

President Mwai Kibaki is required to promulgate the new Constitution within the next 14 days failure to which, it automatically becomes law.


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