Kenyans divided on executive power

January 8, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – The Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review (CoE) has disregarded Kenyans’ recommendations on the system of government and retained its earlier proposal for a hybrid system.

Despite receiving close to two million submissions from the public, the committee settled “on the compromise system” saying, “Kenyans remain equally divided between a pure Parliamentary system and a pure Presidential system.”

While presenting the revised draft to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Constitution on Friday, CoE Chairman Nzamba Kitonga said their input was not final and urged legislators to advise the Experts on the way forward.

“We are confident that the PSC and Parliament will in the execution of their mandate of seeking consensus provide suggestions to enrich the draft more,” he said.

The document is available on the downloads section at

The revised draft is an improvement of the harmonised draft released in mid November in which the public made their recommendations. Under the draft a ceremonial President directly elected by the public will be the symbol of national unity. The Prime Minister who will be the leader of the party with the largest number of MPs will form the government, chair Cabinet meetings and be the overall coordinator of government.

“Nevertheless the committee has made several changes in the composition of the Executive and in the relationship of the Offices of the President and the Prime Minister to avoid perceived areas of conflict,” Mr Kitonga added.

The committee has however scrapped the proposed regional governments and suggested a two tier devolution comprising of National and County governments. The experts have made reference to the gazetted 47 districts which will act as counties, saying further changes can only be made in 2012.

While receiving the document, PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed urged his members to embrace a spirit of compromise to gain consensus. Mr Mohammed called on his members to be guided by the spirit of humility and compromise in the process of consensus building.

“Only through compromise will we achieve consensus. We must not allow distrust and suspicion that has bedevilled us,” he advised.

Vice Chairman Ababu Namwamba said the committee was charged with a major national responsibility and urged his colleagues to shed off political, regional and ethnic persuasions in the process.

The PSC will from next week hold a retreat to scrutinise the document and make its recommendations within 21 days after which the experts will incorporate these to the document to be presented to Parliament for debate and adoption.

Other changes the Committee agreed to include the gradual scrapping off of the Provincial Administration as opposed to the earlier immediate disposal. Police will detain suspects for only 24 hours instead of 48 as earlier proposed.

On the Judiciary, the experts have proposed handsome compensation to judges who opt to retire instead of going through vetting after the enactment of the new constitution. The Constitutional court will on the other hand remain the organ of dispute resolution in the enactment of a new law.


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