Solution to boundaries deadlock imminent

December 1, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – The Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs has started negotiations to resolve the dispute over the distribution of the 80 new constituencies.

The committee on Wednesday held a meeting with the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) and a caucus of Members of Parliament seeking a political solution to the crisis.

The Committee Chairman Ababu Namwamba told journalists that the meeting identified four options that could unlock the deadlock and a follow up meeting tomorrow will identify the best alternative among the four.

"We are looking at all legal, constitutional and political implications of all options," said Mr Namwamba adding that: "We will be consulting widely both within Parliament and the Executive."

Legislators have been divided over the matter with one group opposing the proposed units while another has vowed to paralyse government business until the new units are gazetted.

The country last week missed the first constitutional deadline to establish the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and the Commission on Revenue Allocation when MPs delayed the approval of nominees in protest to the delayed gazettment of the new electoral units.

Mr Namwamba was optimistic that a solution would be reached by the end of the week

He said: "I can assure the country that the options have an inherent ability of moving the process forward."

Mr Namwamba said the committee hoped to hold an informal MPs\’ meeting on Friday to seek the concurrence of the whole House. He added that the success of the two meetings will pave way for the adoption of the resolutions in the House next week and unlock the political deadlock that has delayed the implementation of the Constitution.

On Tuesday the Cabinet mandated its Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution to seek a political solution to the matter.

"After we identify the viable option we shall meet the Cabinet committee," said Mr Namwamba.

Oversight Committee Chairman Abdikadir Mohamed called for sobriety over the matter.

"These issues require everyone to think of the best interest of the country first. If we get the politics right then the legal way out is easy," he said.

He cautioned that the dispute over boundaries was one of the problems that led to the 2008 post election violence.

"This country has a way of looking at politics as dirty. The politics essentially means about the interest everybody has of representation," said Mr Abdikadir.

Meanwhile Parliament\’s probe into the suitability of Ahmednasir Abdullahi as a nominee to the Judicial Service Commission is now degenerating into a supremacy war between the House and the statutory body representing lawyers in the country.

The parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee has dismissed the Law Society of Kenya\’s defence of Mr Abdullahi as their choice, with the Mr Namwamba accusing the lawyers of failing to keenly vet their nominee.

Since his nomination Mr Abdullahi has appeared thrice before the committee for grilling after various allegations questioning his credibility.

"LSK should tell us why the issues we are interrogating now escaped their attention yet they say they vetted their nominees," he said.

The Law Society of Kenya on Wednesday defended Mr Abdullahi saying he has a clean track record and claimed that Parliament should not vet him since he was elected by the Society.

Lawmaker Millie Odhiambo however said LSK should be ready to live by the provisions of the new Constitution that requires strict vetting of public office holders.

"We shall do our wok without any fear. If we are going to reject the nominee it will be based on the information we have. If we accept it will be based on the information before us and not because anybody threatened us," she said.


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