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Germany backs MPs stand on Kenya referendum

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – German Ambassador Margit Hellwig-Boette on Wednesday commended the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) for rejecting proposals of a YES-YES referendum.

She told Capital News that a Constitution is a document that unites a country and allowing two documents would leave Kenya divided.

“The Constitution is the glue for the country; it is what ties the country together. I don’t think that people should have a choice between different options, it’s not like a brochure you just use and throw it away,” she advised.

The envoy acknowledged that Constitution making processes are not easy tasks since they require thorough and wide discussions to reach a consensus on all issues.

She was pleased that the committee had decided to first discuss the less controversial issues before getting into the most contentious ones.

She insisted on the need for the PSC to find consensus and expressed optimism that they would agree on all matters.

Mrs Hellwig-Boette urged the members to first agree and then convince the rest of the Members of Parliament (MPs) to endorse the draft when it is tabled before the House.

“Whatever system is agreed on, it should be a system with checks and balances. The committee should work out on what is best for the country and then convince Parliament and the people that this is the way forward and everybody should stick to what is founded,” she said.

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She also called on MPs to put aside selfish interests: “They were elected by people, and they should know the Constitution is for the country and for the interest of the people.”

On Tuesday, the PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed reiterated that they would not even consider proposing presentation of two drafts at the referendum, insisting that it would be divisive for the country.

The MPs are expected to conclude their one-week retreat in Naivasha on Friday by which time they will be required to have agreed on the system of government as well.

After agreeing on the draft it will be handed over to the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review which will compile it and refer it back to the committee for presentation before Parliament.

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