, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review is optimistic of attaining consensus on the draft law in its weeklong retreat starting this Sunday in Naivasha.
Vice Chairman Ababu Namwamba said on Friday that members were ready to negotiate around contentious issues of the draft with the spirit of give and take. He downplayed public fears that differences between politicians were likely to scuttle the process.
“As we head to Naivasha we know that there is no margin for error, there is no margin for grandstanding. We know we must get it right this time,” he said adding “Constitution making is about staking, it is about negotiating.”
The Budalangi MP emphasised that what was important was that there was real determination within the political class and the Kenyan public to succeed.
“All these positions that have been expressed prior to the retreat are good for setting the parameters of negotiation,” he said.
The Coalition Management Committee on Thursday evening emerged from a meeting without agreeing on the structure of the Executive and left it to the 27 member committee to strike a deal. While the Orange Democratic Movement is stuck to its Parliamentary System, the Party of National Unity maintains its quest for a Presidential system.
Mr Namwamba however downplayed the divisions between the coalition partners.
“This constitution is not about ODM or PNU, neither is it about the President or the Prime Minister. All the views expressed by the parties and the leaders must be seen alongside the views of other Kenyans,” he said.
The PSC received the revised draft last week and has now two weeks to make its recommendations. However the haggle over the system of government is likely to dominate proceedings of the committee. Deputy Ministers Musalia Mudavadi (ODM) and Uhuru Kenyatta (PNU) will be leading their respective teams in the negotiations likely to overshadow discussions on other matters.
The Parliamentary Committee has planned to ‘negotiate’ for a week and spend the other week drafting their report. The Committee of Experts settled on a ‘compromise hybrid system’ saying the country was equally divided between Parliamentary and Presidential systems and urged the parliamentarians to give direction on the matter.