Kenya draft law due back with CoE

January 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) is scheduled to hand over its recommendations on the revised Harmonised Draft Constitution to the Committee of Experts on Friday afternoon.

The Committee spent much of the morning fine-tuning their report at County Hall, the location of the afternoon ceremony.

PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed is expected to lead his 26-member committee in submitting the document full of ‘political comprises’ on various contentious issues in the draft Constitution.

“After nine days of deliberations – sometimes well into the night – we have reached major agreements on the draft on issues that appeared to have divided us in the past and have made it difficult for us to get a new Constitution,” said Mr Mohammed.

The Committee of Experts (CoE) will take the next 21 days to incorporate the recommendations into another draft that will be submitted to Parliament for debate and adoption. Kenyans will vote for this final draft in the referendum possibly in May.

“We will be handing over the draft Constitution and our report to the Committee of Experts tomorrow afternoon (Friday) so that they can revise it taking into account the achieved consensus,” said Mr Mohammed on Thursday.

The Parliamentarians emerged from a two-week retreat in Naivasha on Thursday and announced that they had “gained broad consensus on all contentious issues.” They settled for a pure Presidential system, a 349-member Parliament and a two-tier devolution comprising the Central government and the Counties.

In the envisaged system, the President will be elected through universal suffrage and will be checked by a strong Parliament and an independent Judiciary. The Provincial Administration on the other hand will be restructured in accordance with the new devolution system.

The PSC defended itself from accusations that it has interfered with the work of the Interim Independent Boundary Review Commission (IIBRC) by setting up criteria for boundary review.

Mr Mohammed said it is within its mandate to entrench in the constitution criteria to guide IIBRC in its work. He said this would ensure that subsequent governments do not abuse their powers and set new boundaries for political or selfish reasons.

The IIBRC turned down an invitation by the PSC to discuss the issue of representation forcing the Committee to rely on statistics experts. The team fixed constituencies at 290 and mandated the IIBRC to demarcate the new units using a set criteria.


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