, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo is pushing for the enactment of at least four electoral and judicial reform Bills by the end of the year, as a start to the implementation of the new Constitution.
Mr Kilonzo wants Parliament to pass the Elections Bill, Judicial Service Bill, the Supreme Court Bill and legislation on the fresh vetting of judges and magistrates so that the country can start the implementation of the new Constitution with a credible justice system.
He wants the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), which will be charged with effecting the new Constitution constituted immediately after promulgation next Friday, to facilitate the refining of the Bills.
“We have an enormous human resource who can draft the Bills, what we need are people who can ensure the laws capture the mood, the desire and aspirations of the Kenyans who overwhelmingly voted for the new Constitution,” Mr Kilonzo told representatives of the Media Owners Association at a breakfast meeting.
The law stipulates that a new Judicial Service Commission (JSC) be constituted within 60 days after the promulgation, while the CIC should be formed within 90 days.
“My Ministry is not waiting for the commission to be set up. We are putting the Bills in a bank awaiting the formation of the commission,” added the Ministry.
President Mwai Kibaki is expected to lead the nation in ushering the new Constitution next Friday, after which Parliament will be tasked with passing at least 48 Bills to support it.
The Judicial Service Commission will be crucial in vetting all judges and magistrates and recommending judges to the new Supreme Court which should be set up within one year.
The Elections Bill will be instrumental in setting up the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which will take up the mandates of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission whose mandates end in December and November this year respectively.
Mr Kilonzo added that the Bill on the Police reforms is also ready awaiting debate and approval. This is expected to institute wide raging reforms to the security forces including the formation of an independent Police Service Commission, a civilian oversight body and the creation of the office of Inspector General of Police and two deputies, (in charge of the Administration and the Regular Police).
During the meeting, the minister called on the media to provide a platform for continued civic education and public information on the process of implementing the new law.
“Through the media, the government and its people can engage in dialogue to facilitate the attainment of the highest good of its members of society,” he said.
Representatives of the MOA on their part requested the government to ensure that adequate resources are allocated for effectiveness of the implementation process.
“More funds should be allocated so that the government can sponsor public education across all stations since we all serve different sectors of the society,” said MOA Vice Chairman Kiprono Kittony.
Capital Group General Manager Cyrus Kamau said the State should avoid leaving the heaviest funding burden to donors, as was the case with the civic education.
“Over 75 percent of the funds should come from the government as a show of commitment,” he proposed.