Kenyan MPs to defend draft law

March 30, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – Top leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Party of National Unity (PNU) have pledged to support the Proposed Constitution even if desired amendments flop when Parliament votes on Wednesday.

ODM Deputy Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi said that the party would campaign for the document in the run up to the referendum even if their desired amendments fail to garner the support of 145 legislators.

“If we are unable to pass any amendments then it will be selfish for us to then wake up and mobilise our supporters to reject the document yet we failed to agree when we had an opportunity,” he said.

And speaking in Meru, PNU Secretary General Kiraitu Murungi appeared to have lost hope of the possibility of securing the numbers to move any amendments to the draft law. He expressed concern that vested interests among the lawmakers were likely to jeopardise any consensus on the amendments.

Mr Murungi urged the Christian leaders to support the document despite the outcome of the amendments saying the new document has provided many improvements to the current Constitution.

“Even if you oppose the current draft on the basis of Kadhi courts, if it fails, Kadhi courts would remain. Some people just want to frustrate the realisation of a new Constitution,” he said.

The House has remained divided on the matter of amendments with one group pushing hard for them while another has insisted that the document should be passed as it is. So far the office of the Clerk has authorised 50 amendments that legislators will debate and vote on, come Wednesday.

During debate, however, there has been some common feeling to accept the document whether or not they marshal support for amendments.

Environment Minister John Michuki on his part urged colleagues to unite and support meaningful amendments.

“I hope that Parliament can produce a Constitution that is objective, fair, just and exudes equitable treatment of Kenyans,” said the senior PNU MP.

Mr Mudavadi on his part called on MPs to practice tolerance and sobriety during debate and voting on the amendments.

“Constitution making is a process of give and take.”

The ODM Deputy Leader said Parliament has limited options before the document is presented to Kenyans in a referendum.


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