Politicians told to keep off law review

June 6, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – Constitutional expert Yash Pal Ghai says politicians and their interests need to take a back seat as Kenya embarks on a fresh constitution making process.

Mr Ghai who was at one time in charge of Kenya’s law review on Saturday said that in his experience, bickering by political parties derails the process.

“In the end, the politicians will make very personal calculations. They will think, will they get power through a particular kind of constitution and that is not a very safe basis on which decisions will be made,” he said.

He stated the need for the concerns of ordinary Kenyans to be highlighted in the review.

“So I cannot be confident that we will have a new constitution because at the end, if one (political) group feels they have the chance to get power through a particular kind of constitution, then they will go for that,” Mr Ghai said.

But a member of the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review Ekuru Aukot exuded confidence.

“Because the law has given us that timeframe (one year) and the Committee of Experts is very much committed to that timeframe, it is possible that we will beat the deadline,” he confidently stated.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) say they want to be included in the constitution making process.

Secretary General Adan Wachu said that this will ensure that issues affecting the Muslims are taken into consideration.

He also said the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review should deal with the issues of Kadhi’s courts comprehensively.

“We must be involved in this constitution making process absolutely and also (the issue of) Kadhi’s court has never been counted as contentious. The Kadhi’s court is not classified as contentious,” he said.
He was speaking during a SUPKEM forum where he said agenda item four should be given priority in the law review process.

 “The other very important issue is Agenda 4 which dwells extensively on ownership of land.  This is a country where few people collect together as land speculators, form companies and acquire massive land that either belongs to individuals or criminals in the name of having the right to own land in any part of the country,” he stated.


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