Kenya churches launch minimum reforms Bill

November 11, 2009 12:00 am

, LIMURU, Kenya, Nov 11 – The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has prepared a Bill to back their calls for minimum reforms as a fall back scenario should Kenya fail to attain the new Constitution by the 2012 elections.

Secretary General Canon Peter Karanja on Wednesday released the ‘Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill (2009)’ and called for Kenyans to forward their comments on how to improve it. Canon Karanja said the Council was ‘already in consultations’ with a number of Members of Parliament to sponsor and support the Bill in the House.

“This details the specific stabilisation reforms we are proposing. We are open to comments that would add value to these provisions,” he said. “These stabilisation reforms will serve as a fallback custom for the nation in the event the worst case scenario plays out.”

The Council mid last month called for the minimum reforms at the height of disagreements over the process of preparing a new Constitution, brewing a storm in the country.
In its proposals NCCK is urging Parliament to amend the law to increase the threshold for electing a President from the current simple majority to fifty percent plus an extra one of the total voter turnout and also fix the election date to be the first Tuesday of December in the fifth year of each parliamentary term.

The Bill also calls for fixed two five year terms for the Attorney General, Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecution. It further proposes for the establishment of a Supreme Court, reconstitution of the Judicial Service Commission and the competitive appointment of judges.

“We indeed regret to admit that the signals coming from national leaders and political actors invite doubts on their commitment to a new Constitution.”

The Secretary General however maintained that the Council was in full support for the realisation of a new Constitution despite their minimum reforms calls.

“NCCK holds the view that while it is important for Kenyans to fight and do everything they can to get the new Constitution it is only being responsible to recognise that this journey is long and filled with hurdles,” he said.

The clamour for a new Constitution started close to two decades ago and is always faced with new hurdles. In 2005 Kenyans in a referendum rejected a proposed draft with main differences being on ‘devolution’ and the inclusion of the Kadhi’s Court in the Constitution.

According to the Committee of Experts, the final draft will be published within this month after which Kenyans will have the opportunity to scrutinise it and make proposals for amendments. Church leaders have already threatened to mobilise their followers to shoot down the draft law should it include the Kadhi’s court. A section of politicians on the other hand has also threatened to scuttle the process unless a criteria for fixing constituency boundaries is first established.


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