Plot to alter Kenyan draft law blocked

February 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Attempts by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to alter the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) to the Committee of Experts have been thwarted.

Reports from a joint meeting with the experts on Tuesday indicated that attempts by some ODM members on the PSC to introduce a separate document for consideration were overruled by their colleagues mostly allied to the Party of National Unity.

It was reported that ODM wanted some aspects of the agreement reached in Naivasha last month renegotiated, key among them the system of government.

Briefing the media after the meeting, PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed who steered clear of the controversy, maintained that the earlier report and recommendations forwarded three weeks ago was the final position of the committee.

“The views of the PSC remain the views of the Parliamentary committee not views of any political party,” he said.

Mr Mohammed said the current political crisis facing the coalition government should not be allowed to derail the constitution review process.

“We understand that this is as much a political process as al legal process. We however would not want this process sacrificed at the political altar one more time,” he charged.

The PSC agreed on a presidential system of government, two-tier devolution and the retention of the Administration Police. However there have been increasing reports that the party felt aggrieved and wanted these key issues renegotiated. 

Their expression of change of heart comes amidst disagreements between the President and the Prime Minister over suspension of Ministers William Ruto and Sam Ongeri which were overruled by the Head of State.

“I know that there are many worried Kenyans out there as to the risks the process faces owing to the current political environment,” Mr Mohammed expressed.

CoE Chairman Nzamba Kitonga said the meeting gave them an opportunity to get a justification from the parliamentarians on the recommendations and their report.

He said it was a milestone in the process as it was the first time the two crucial committees had a working meeting.

“This gives us some comfort in knowledge that once we hand over the final document it will have smooth passage to Parliament,” he said.

The experts have been working on the recommendations for the last three weeks and are expected to forward a final document incorporating the proposals next week.

The PSC will have seven days to forward the document without amendment to Parliament.


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