, NAIVASHA, Kenya, Jan 28 – The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review has wound up its retreat in Naivasha with broad consensus on various contentious issues.
They once again revised the number of proposed MPs, this time to 349 and removed a requirement for all judges to resign and be subjected to fresh vetting.
“We want to report that 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,” the committee chairman Mohammed Abdikadir said.
Apart from removing the requirement for judges to re-apply for their jobs, the PSC provided for the Chief Justice’s appointment to be initiated by the Judicial Service Commission, nominated by the President and approved by Parliament.
“The independence of judiciary has been enhanced including creation of an independent Judicial Service Commission with financial autonomy. The Supreme Court as the highest court in the land will have seven judges.”
He explained that they had increased constituencies from the current 210 to 290. They also proposed 47 special seats for women to be elected from each county and 12 nominated MPs from other groups which include the disabled.
The PSC also reduced the authority of the Senate, making it lower to the National Assembly and with no powers to make laws.
The MPs also reached consensus on the structure of security organs, and further resolved to retain the Provincial Administration which will be structured to suit a devolved government
The Committee agreed to allow dual citizenship. “A citizen of Kenya by birth does not lose his citizenship by acquiring another citizenship,” they said.
Three organs of National Security namely Kenya Defence Forces, National Intelligence Service and Kenya Internal Security Services-the latter to include the Kenya Police and Administration Police, and headed by Inspector General.
The President will be elected by universal suffrage, 50 per cent +1 and 25 percent in more than half of the counties;
“The President will not serve more than two five year terms and will not be a Member of Parliament. Ministers will be from outside Parliament but vetted by the House and appointed by the President.”
The election of the President will be held separately from the National Assembly elections.
Mr Abdikadir concluded by saying: “Constitution making is a very delicate process that is bound to excite contending passions so sometimes when you have witnessed us caucusing it was with a view of developing consensus.”
The draft constitution and report are now due to be handed over to the Committee of Experts on Friday afternoon.