Kenyans urged to monitor new law

August 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – Civil society organisations are now asking the government to publicly vet individuals who will form commissions proposed by the new Constitution and those who will occupy the State offices that will fall vacant.

Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) Chairperson Ann Njogu on Tuesday claimed that politicians had already started lobbying for individuals they want to head the proposed institutions.

She argued that the process should be transparent to ensure that the available positions were taken up by individuals of repute who would be gatekeepers of the new law.

“The kind of prosecutions that are going to take place in this country will determine whether we will have business as usual or the end to impunity. It is so critical to get these offices right. The era of giving back to your political sycophants is over,” she said.

Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Chairperson Naomi Wagereka asked Kenyans to remain vigilant and called on the government to make known the selection criteria.

“We want the government to come out clearly and state the process because unless we have a clear process, there will be room for maneuver. The whole issue of patronage and even corruption might get into the process and we might lose the plot before we even begin,” she said.

Ms Njogu further argued that the right selection process as well as political commitment would increase public confidence on the government. Citing the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, she added that Kenya had reliable and professional people who could transform the country’s public mechanisms.

“Kenyans need to use the pareto principle; focus your energy on the 20 percent that will help you get 80 percent of the results you are looking for. That means getting the right political will that will bring about the reforms that we want,” she said.

Ms Wagereka also called on women to take up the positions that the new Constitution had created. She argued that women needed to stop observing their country’s governance limitations from the sidelines.

“Women need to realise that this is the beginning of the hard work and they need to go out there and capture the space that has been opened for them. Time has passed when Kenyans always asked ‘serikali itusaidie’. Women at the grassroots have to form very strong groups that will help them move forward,” she said.

The civil societies also said that there was still need for civic education at the grassroots especially among those who voted against the new document.

“We need to go back to the places that had a very strong ‘No’ following because we must move on as one. We need to ensure that they embrace this constitution,” said Ms Njogu.

The League of Muslim Women Kenya (LMWK) requested civil societies to lobby for the various electioneering processes that Kenya would have in the future at the grassroots.

“We need to ensure that those at the grassroots register as voters because politics is about numbers,” said Executive Director LMWK Maimuna Mwidau.

The offices of the Attorney General, the Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions are among those that will be left vacant. The current Chief Justice will have six months to leave office after the promulgation of the new Constitution while the Attorney General has one year. The Director of Public Prosecution will be appointed after the AG leaves office and shall be an independent entity.

A commission on the implementation of the Constitution is also to be created within 90 days after the president promulgates the new law.


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