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Kenyans left out of review

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 25 – Eighty-eight percent of Kenyans say they have not been involved in the ongoing Constitution review process.

According a report released by the Social Economic Rights Foundation (SRF) on Friday, though 91 percent of Kenyans are aware of the process, most felt that they had not been consulted by the Committee of Experts.

“This is a challenge for this process, they want the public to be the bigger player, we are likely to see a tug-of-war in the next few months because the public feels this technical thing is not working for them,” SRF Executive Director Peter Kariuki said.

The report further revealed that 70 percent of those interviewed were of the opinion that the Committee was inaccessible with another 74 percent saying the public should actively get involved in the process.

Most respondents believed the government had a big role to play in funding the process and also liaising with the public closely to inform them on status of the process.

They also want the government to take their views and present them to the committee. Despite Committee Chair Nzamba Kitonga saying they would complete the process by the set deadline, most Kenyans believe it will not be possible.

“Eighty five percent of those interviewed were pessimistic that the constitution will be delivered on time basing their arguments on the effects of the post election violence and political interference,” said Mr Kariuki.

They also requested for civic education to make the process more understandable to the general public.

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The survey further revealed that 64.3 percent of people said the Executive should not have exclusive authority to effect emergency powers.

Another 62 percent wanted the President’s and the Prime Minister’s powers reduced. However, the system of governance still remained a controversial issue with people preferring all the three systems closely.

He said a lot of sensitisation was still required to make Kenyans understand the merits and demerits of each choice. Level of devolving the government was also not any different from the articulations of the committee of experts who said it was still a point of contention.

Mr Kariuki noted that most Kenyans called for a devolved government though some preferred the district as the point of devolution.

The survey was conducted in July this year with interviewees between 25 and 60 years.


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