Kenya seeks constitution experts

January 5, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – The process of writing a new Constitution gathered momentum on Monday, when Parliament invited applications from interested experts to join the committee of experts.

Advertisements signed by the Clerk of the National Assembly Patrick Gachohi indicated for that applicants for the positions of director and members of the committee must be persons of high moral character and integrity.

The nine-member team – that will comprise six Kenyans – will constitute the committee that will examine issues in existing draft documents before a referendum next year.

According to the advert, the director will to serve at the committee on a full time basis.

"The director shall be the chief executive of the secretariat and the accounting officer of the committee of experts."

The Constitution of Kenya Review Act, which came into effect last December, will direct the identification and selection of the team of experts and directors.

"The applicant must have proven knowledge or experience in the areas of constitutional law, electoral systems and designs for democratic elections, human rights, governance ethics and accountability", the advertisement read in part. 

Other fields include; land and land law, systems and structures of democratic governments and mediation and consensus building, women and gender issues.

All applications are expected to be received through the clerk of the National Assembly by January 26.

Former commissioners of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC), MPs and any person holding public office are not eligible to be appointed in the committee.

Last Monday, the Parliamentary Select Committee on constitution review invited applications from human resource firms to help in the selection of the individuals who will spearhead the constitution review process.

The PSC will meet on January 14 to review applications to the committee of experts and enhance the roadmap that will distinguish the 12-month within which to conclude the review process in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the National Accord.

The committee will produce a new charter out of all existing Constitution charters, including the Wako, Kilifi and Naivasha drafts and Bomas "while taking into consideration the views of Kenyans."

Speaking during a regional conference on constitutional democracy in Africa last year, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: "This will be a drafting exercise. The Committee of Experts will also prepare based on best comparative constitutional practices a set of options, preferably not exceeding two, on each of the contentious issues."

The Parliamentary Select Committee will endorse the non-contentious issues and then earnestly endeavour to achieve consensus on the remaining contentious issues based on the recommendations of the Committee of Experts.

Once consensus is achieved, a complete Draft Constitution incorporating the non-contentious issues and the resolved contentious issues will be drafted by the Committee of Experts and then submitted to the National Assembly for endorsement.

It will thereafter go to a National Referendum for approval by a simple majority of those who turn out to vote.


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