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Constitution will be delayed, says Karua

NAIROBI, June 24 – The government Tuesday revealed that Kenyans would get a new constitution later than the anticipated 12-month period.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua said the process would take longer simply because it did not begin immediately after the Accord Act was passed by Parliament as was meant to be the case.

She said it was impractical to expect a new document within twelve months, since the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill and the Constitution of Kenya Review Bill that were published last Friday have not yet been brought to Parliament for discussion.

According to the two bills, Parliament will debate on them for 30 days and then the process should take one year after the bills are passed by Members.

Karua further explained to the House that there was no money allocated for the review since the government was not planning to spend huge amounts of money as in the previous processes.

She also said the government only planned to spend money during the referendum, where the allocations would be catered for in the 2009/2010 Budget.

“There will be no referendum before the next budget. It is not practical to have a constitution within 12 months, since the period of 12 months was supposed to run from the time the Accord was passed.”

The current re-evaluation will be handled by a team of experts that include three people selected by the Panel of Eminent African Personalities and four MPs chosen by the Parliamentary Select Committee.

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Bomas I, II and III on the other hand were handled by 500 delegates.

Still in Parliament, Karua delivered a ministerial statement where she urged MPs and the public to stop criminalising the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

She said problems only occurred during the tallying at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre and argued that the rest of the process was free and fair.

The Minister appealed for patience as the country awaited the results of the Kriegler commission probing the disputed polls.

Karua also announced that there were no budgetary allocations for political parties since the ECK first has to approve parties that are compliant with the Political Parties Act before any funds are released.

She said the allocations would be featured in the 2009/2010 budget.

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said the post election violence delayed the disbursement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

He told MPs that the crisis paralysed the operations of the CDF for three months, especially in areas with large numbers of internally displaced persons.

Oparanya further attributed the problem to the late formation of a new government, Parliamentary Committees, and CDF board, since the 10th Parliament was also derailed.

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However he said that the Treasury on Tuesday morning released Sh8 billion and has promised to release the remaining amount by Friday.

He said that so far 34 constituencies had given their proposals for the CDF kitty, while nine constituencies had not applied.

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