Kenya’s interim commissions winding up

August 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – The mandates of most Agenda 4 commissions are set to come to an end after the promulgation of the new Constitution.

First to go will be the Committee of Experts, which is set to be disbanded 45 days after the new Constitution becomes effective.

The chairman of the CoE Nzamba Kitonga said on Tuesday that they were now in the process of handing over to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

“We are on our death bed now. We are required to go home 45 days after the promulgation of the new Constitution.  The Ministry of Justice will now have the responsibility to take over from where we have left,” he stated.

Mr Kitonga however emphasised the need for continued countrywide civic education on the new document. 

“People did not even know the contents of the old Constitution. This is a big lesson and the government must take the issue of civic education very seriously and prepare a comprehensive programme of civic education,” he pointed out.

He said the document should be incorporated into the school curricula in a bid to sensitise the youth on its contents.

“The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education should maybe sit down and discuss how they can even put it in the school’s curriculum and to see how it can be a continuous process not pegged on the referendum,” he explained.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) will also be dissolved and a joint Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission formed.

IIEC chairman Issack Hassan stated that following the commission’s successful completion of the referendum, Kenyans need to take time to get acquainted with the contents of the new law.

“The IIEC and IIBRC were formed by section 41 of the Constitution of Kenya for a period of 24 months. It was very clear that our mandate was going to end when a new Constitution was promulgated or three months thereafter, whichever comes first,” he said.

“It is important that we have to read what the new Constitution says about these two commissions.”

He said that the decision to form the joint commission now lies with Parliament.

“The mandate of the commissions IIEC and IIBRC shall continue for 24 month from the date when the commission took the oath of office,” he said.

He stressed the importance of implementing the new law properly in the build up to the 2012 General Election.

“Going towards the General Election in 2012 which is a much more critical time, the way we implement this new law is going to have an important bearing on that period,” he stated.

The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission on its part termed the successful passage of the new Constitution during the referendum as a milestone in Kenya’s history.

Chairman Andrew Ligale said that the new law made the work of the commission easier by specifying the number of constituencies the country should have.

“In the previous Constitution, we were going to come up with a recommendation of the optimal number of constituencies. However, in this new document, that figure is given as 290 constituencies and all my commission will do is to come up with boundaries on how the additional 80 can be crafted,” he outlined.

He stated that the commission would have the mandate to gazette the constituencies once they have been laid out.

“Instead of making recommendations to Parliament, once we have agreed as a commission on what the new constituencies will be and the new wards, we shall gazette them,” he said.

The National Integration and Cohesion Commission on the other hand said it would be looking at ensuring that ethnic balance is maintained in all areas following the coming into effect of the new Constitution.

Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia pointed out that according to the new law, more than one third of employees in a public institution should not come from one ethnic background.

He said that the commission would also look at ensuring that resources are distributed equally in all counties.


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