, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 3 – Transparency International Kenya on Wednesday poked holes into the draft Constitution proposed by the Parliamentary Select Committee on constitution Review saying it lacks adequate checks and balances on the Executive.
At a press conference on Wednesday, TI Executive Director Job Ogonda raised issues with the composition of independent commissions saying it includes members of the same institutions they are supposed to oversee and retired officials from the same institutions, defeating their oversight roles.
Mr Ogonda said: “This poses governance risks, abuse of power and corruption since this does not allow close scrutiny by members outside these bodies.”
“Accountability should be to an entity that is independent of the system it is holding accountable,” he said.
He cited the Judicial Service Commission, the Internal Security Service commission and the Parliamentary Service Commission as crucial bodies that needed public scrutiny. The TI boss urged the Committee of Experts on the Constitution to include statutory civilian bodies into the various commissions to reinforce accountability.
“The Experts should make these commissions truly independent and able to hold the various government bodies accountable by including civilians,” he said.
He proposed that institutions such as the Law Society of Kenya, Central Organisation of Trade Unions, Institute of Engineers and other professional bodies get representation in the commissions.
The Internal Security Service Commission is made up of the Inspector-General, Police Commandant, Administration Commandant, two retired senior police officers, a person who is qualified to be appointed as a High Court Judge and three persons of integrity who have served the public with distinction, all appointed by the President.
“How will this commission of Presidential appointees be accountable to the citizens?” Mr Ogonda wondered.
The Judicial Service Commission on the other hand is composed of the Chief Justice, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, one judge and magistrate, nominated respectively by judges and magistrates, the Attorney-General, the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, two advocates, and two persons, not being lawyers, one a woman and one a man, appointed by the President to represent the public.
The Parliamentary Service Commission too is a dominated by Members of Parliament. Its members are the Speaker, five members of whom two shall be from the Senate, the Finance Minister, and one man and one woman nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by Parliament from among persons who are not MPs and are experienced in public affairs.
Transparency International is also opposed to the increase of MPs saying the assertion that it would ensure equal representation is not justified as some areas are overrepresented.
Mr Ogonda instead suggested boarders be redrawn afresh and a mixed member representation formula be used instead of the using population and geographical size.