Kenya Justice Minister raps ODM

March 11, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo is accusing the Orange Democratic Movement of playing ‘archaic political machinations’ by frustrating an MPs’ retreat that was aimed at enlightening members on the proposed draft.

Mr Kilonzo accused the party of playing to the public gallery and attempting to appear as the good party and in the process sacrificing a rather important event that would have boosted the constitutional review process.

“ODM is using political tactics to appear to be the people-friendly and constitution-friendly party, but to the contrary I happen to know different,” he told Capital News in an exclusive interview.

The Minister blamed the construed belief that the Party of National Unity was aiming to amend the draft for fanning the political move by its competitor.

“PNU is attempting to dialogue with its competitor and not interested in amending the draft,” he said.

ODM allied MPs defeated a Motion of Adjournment yesterday that would have allowed the MPs to travel to Naivasha for the retreat claiming that the retreat was a ploy by PNU to drum support for amendments.

The Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution was already in Naivasha when the Motion was defeated late Wednesday evening.

ODM has declared it is satisfied with the proposed law while PNU is bent on persuading their colleagues to amend sections it considers inconsistent.

PNU wants the relatively powerful Senate relegated to a lower chamber, the fresh vetting of judges removed and the requirement that the President consults the Prime Minister in appointing state officers to new offices after the enactment of the new law struck out. Another group of MPs want the counties increased from 47 to 74 ‘to ensure equal representation.’

Mr Kilonzo however said the main agenda of the retreat was to enlighten legislators on the implications of certain contentious clauses in the draft and not to pass amendments as construed.

“This will be the first Constitutional Bill to be debated in the House without informal consultations,” he complained.

The proposed Constitution was tabled in the House last week Tuesday and MPs now have two more weeks to debate and pass it as it is or with amendments. Any amendments however would have to be supported by a two third majority or 148 MPs.

The Minister however assured Kenyans that even without amendments he would be pushing for the enactment of the proposed draft.

“If push came to shove I would rally Kenyans to accept the law despite its challenges because I understand that the history of Constitution making is that Constitutions once passed go through amendments as the impracticality of certain provisions emerges,” he said.


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