Kenyan jurists hail presidential system

January 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – The Kenyan section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has expressed its support for the pure presidential system of government agreed upon by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution.

Chairman Albert Kamunde says the system would enable the Executive to be accountable to the voters, adding that increasing the number of MPs would act as a stronger check to the Executive.

“If the idea of increasing the Members of Parliament is to improve representation, then it will be a good thing because Parliament as an organ needs to be strong to be able to check the other two (arms of government – Executive and Judiciary),” the ICJ chairman said.

“Of cause you have to pay for this increased number but as far as I am concerned, if the increased cost comes with increased representation it is a price Kenyans should be willing to pay,” he added.

Speaking to Capital News he underscored the need to increase the number of constituencies to allow for equal representation in all areas.

“If you have one MP being voted in by over 100, 000 votes and another MP by 5,000 votes, then you have to look for a way to ensure that every constituency has got an  almost equal number of voters,” he said.

“In this instance, when Kenyans vote on an issue, they will feel that their vote counts.”

Meanwhile, Kenyans have expressed different views on the pure presidential system of government agreed upon by the Parliamentary Select Committee in Naivasha.

Many lauded the move saying that it would reduce wrangling within the government and between political parties.

“That is a very good choice because we cannot have two centres of power and fighting against each other. When will we have peace and be able to develop the country?” posed one businessman.

“We shall not have these problems that we have nowadays. If they organise one President, we shall have a good direction,” stated another. “The issue of the President is to blame for the many problems that we have in the country.”

They are of the opinion that this system of government will ensure accountability of the Executive.

“At the end of the day my expectation is to have someone whom we can question whenever we have a problem. If they decide that we have an executive power, that is okay with me as long as we have someone that we can question,” Maurice Omondi explained.

In the proposed system of government, the President would have to be thoroughly vetted.   According to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution, the pure presidential system of government would be checked by a strong Parliament and an independent Judiciary.

The team is due to submit its report to the Committee of Experts on January 29.

The Experts will then be expected to incorporate the proposed amendments within 21 days and hand over the document for debate and adoption by Parliament.


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