, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – President Mwai Kibaki has once again reassured Kenyans of his personal commitment to the successful completion of the Constitution review process.
Speaking on Friday at State House, Nairobi where he witnessed the swearing-in of six of the nine judges appointed to the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court, President Kibaki urged them to expeditiously deal with any disputes that may be brought to them so that Kenyans can get the new Constitution they have long desired.
“I am confident you will live up to the expectations of the Kenyan people and it is my pleasure to wish you great success in your new office,” President Kibaki said.
The six judges sworn-in on Friday were Justice Samuel N. Mukunya, Justice Violet Khadi Mavisi, Justice Scholastica Omondi, Justice Jamila Mohamed, Justice Sankale Ole Kantai and Justice Mburugu M’Nkanata Kioga.
Other judges appointed to the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court are Justice Michel Bastarache of Canada, Justice Unity Dow of Botswana and Justice Alistair Cameron of the United Kingdom.
The President noted that despite the progress made in the Constitution review process there were some cases relating to the draft Constitution that had been filed in the High Court. In this regard, President said these cases will now be referred to newly appointed judges’ bench for their urgent attention.
Said the President: “As you would appreciate, these cases are of great public interest and could affect our efforts towards ushering in a new constitutional dispensation. We expect you to handle these cases objectively and judiciously.”
The President expressed optimism that as the judges discharge their duties they will be guided by a genuine commitment to a new constitution that reflects broad national consensus which can withstand the test of time.
“Kenyans expect you to serve in this court diligently as well as impartially and in the best interests of our country,” the President said.
The President pointed out that key steps have been covered in the Constitution review process including the creation of the legal framework for the review of the Constitution, the establishment of the Committee of Experts, presentation of the initial draft Constitution to the public, collation of public input into the draft and the submission of the revised draft to the Parliamentary Select Committee.
He added that the process is now at the Parliamentary Select Committee level pending approval of the draft in Parliament and its subsequent endorsement by the people of Kenya through a referendum.
The President said the establishment of the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court through the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act No. 10 of 2008 and the subsequent appointment of the judges is an integral part of the process of working out a new law for the country.
The Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court has exclusive and original jurisdiction to handle and resolve disputes related to the Constitution of Kenya review process.
Present during the swearing-in ceremony were Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo, the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and Permanent Secretary Amina Mohamed among other senior government officials.