Karua now roots for the civil society

April 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Former Justice Minister Martha Karua has said Parliament is incapable of delivering substantive reforms in the country and it is up to other pillars of society to push for change.

Speaking to Capital News on Friday, Ms Karua said Parliament has been polarised by selfish political interests and that civil society and religious organisations must be strengthened to pressure the government to act.

She made reference to the push for multiparty elections in the 1990s which was pushed by the civil society and the religious groups.

"The behaviour of Parliament recently does not inspire much confidence. I will tell the public that you can’t rely on Parliament alone; you have got to push us to get the reforms," the Gichugu lawmaker said.

Ms Karua however cautioned that that these institutions must first put their differences aside and carry out coordinated efforts.

"Our history shows that even when reformers go to Parliament and government, something happens and they go to the comfort zone. So we need alternative voices all the time," she said and added: "We must put aside our petty differences and unite together for our common good."

Religious leaders and the civil society movement have in the last year struggled to redeem their image that was dented by partisan politics since the 2005 referendum and the 2007 general election.

The two groups have however been on collision path with the Executive over their continued attacks on the government which the latter has said has not in good faith. Earlier in the week President Mwai Kibaki urged religious leaders to concentrate on praying for the country and encouraging the government.

Ms Karua resigned from government two weeks ago over frustrations from what she termed as ‘forces in the Office of the President’ on her reform agenda.

She has put the Executive on notice that she will now use Parliament to push for the reforms. The Justice docket was identified as a key driver of long term reforms identified under agenda item four of the National accord. The Judiciary, Police force and lands docket are in the waiting list for change.

The creation of a special tribunal to try suspects perpetrators of post election violence and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission are also envisaged in the reform agenda.

While the process of establishing TJRC has started parliament earlier in the year shot down a motion to put up the tribunal but the executive has indicated it will launch a fresh bid. Creation of job employment for the youth and equal distribution of resources are also part of agenda four..

In the spirit, The Gichugu MP is also urging individual Kenyans to push for good governance in their small way.
"We have to say no to bribery even when we are denied services. We must agree to suffer for a while in order to overcome. If you are a matatu driver let your vehicle be grounded for that day so that you clear the path ahead of you and say no to corruption," she recommended.


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