Lobbyists drop referendum demands

January 24, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 24 – Civil Society Organisations have dropped campaigns for a Yes-Yes referendum after the adoption of a presidential system of government.

National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) spokesman Morris Odhiambo said on Sunday that they were satisfied that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution which has been meeting in Naivasha had addressed their concerns on the system of government.

“The Yes-Yes referendum option gave a clear way of bringing the process to an end, and avoid going back to the current constitutional dispensation; with the current consensus and avoid going the hybrid way which is neither Parliamentary nor Presidential.  To that extent then, the campaign has succeeded,” he said.

The lobbyists say focus should now shift to ensuring there are sufficient checks and balances.

They said this would avoid misuse of power by the person elected to lead the country.

Mr Odhiambo said: “We call upon all Kenyans in general, politicians in different political parties and the Committee of Experts on Constitution Review to embrace the consensus on a presidential system of government. Let the debate therefore shift to the important aspects of checks and balances within the system.”

They called on the Kenyans to continue piling pressure to ensure the delivery of the elusive document.

“Major challenges lie ahead. These challenges will in fact not end when the process is concluded. Greater challenges lie in the implementation phase.  We must endeavour to put our leaders in checks so as to avoid past abuses from recurring” he said.

MPs meeting in Naivasha in the past week agreed to a US-style presidential system of governance with checks and balances provided by Parliament and the Judiciary.

The agreement on the system of government was reached on last Wednesday by the PSC meeting at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.

The agreement could be a significant turning point in the country’s failed attempts to write a new constitution in the last two decades.

The issue of the system of government was among the most contentious with one half of the government preferring a presidential system and the other a parliamentary system with a ceremonial President while a Prime Minister elected by MPs would have exercises executive authority.

The draft, which the 26 members of the PSC are going through, recommended a hybrid system of government where the premier and the president shared power.

The MPs resume meetings in Naivasha on Monday to agree on regional representation.


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