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COTU demands 3 constitution drafts

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) has called on the committee of experts on constitution review to give three versions of the law review for a referendum.

Secretary General Francis Atwoli said on Sunday that Kenyans should choose between a presidential, parliamentary or hybrid system of government.

“We want to vote for or against those three because some of us have seen that this coalition government is one of cover me, I cover you,” he said while addressing a public gathering in Embu.

Mr Atwoli said the issue of constitutional boundaries was just to divert attention from the real issues of the constitution, adding that he did not support the calls for minimum amendments on the constitution.

He said Kenya needed a new law that would address all the issues affecting the country.

“When we get a new constitution, it will de-link the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission from the Attorney General’s office because even if Ringera is out, it doesn’t help. That is targeting individuals,” he told the gathering.

“What will help us are institutions that are reformed and have new ways of administration.”

The COTU boss said it was unfortunate that President Kibaki did not give a timeframe within which the new constitution should go to a referendum despite appointing the committee of experts.

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He also warned that the 2012 general elections could turn out worse than was the experience in 2007, if the government failed to urgently take the necessary reform measures.

Mr Atwoli said that the international community may also abandon Kenya should there be a recurrence of the violence.

“I want to tell politicians that if you don’t listen to what I am saying today and you don’t take action, Kofi Annan and all those who came to our aid during the election crisis will not be there in 2012,” he said.

“They will say Kenyans have put glue on their ears even if you beat drums they can’t hear,” he added.

The trade unionist said the problem of governance that Kenya was facing was because we had the same crop of politicians leading the country.

“After the year 2007, most of the politicians who were in the KANU regime just removed their red shirts that were a symbol of KANU; some joined ODM and others PNU,” he said. 

He added meanwhile that the boundaries review was not relevant at this time and the urgency now was with a new constitution and job creation for the youth.

He said Kenya already had too many members of parliament to accommodate others.

“This is the first government that has about 100 cabinet ministers and assistants and now they want to add more Members of Parliament and the poor people who are tax payers will cater for these individuals,” he said.

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“I heard one Member of Parliament saying they want more constituencies in Nairobi whereas we need only four MP’s in Nairobi district,” he added.

He said it was unfortunate that the boundary review was being done when there were people who were still internally displaced following the post election skirmishes.

“People are still in IDP camps, they are being given very little money to move. Where is the right to own a title deed?” he posed.

 “Who will protect you and your property if it is not the government?”


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