, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – In the 1990’s they initiated the struggle for a new Constitution but now, they are seen by some as staling the very process.
Christians are however adamant they would rather reject an otherwise good document because of two clauses – that on abortion and the Kadhi courts.
The various church leaders are unanimous in hailing the two-decade process but say the two clauses amount to injustice.
We spoke to Canon Peter Karanja the Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Kenya which has been vocal in asking Christians to vote against the draft.
Q. Do you believe we can have a perfect draft?
A. You cannot have a perfect draft, but again this should not provide for sloppiness or carelessness. You must consider the irreducible minimums.
Q. There are those who are of the opinion to save the two-decade process, we pass the proposed law as it is then initiate amendments later.
A. The reason why this document is Parliament for 30 days discussions is so that it can be improved. It is an act of recklessness for officials to put pending matters they can deal with now to a future date which is not known when the opportunity is there do deal with them.
The reason why Christians will not allow it to go with flaws is because the things we are asking for are not outrageous or complicated. They are doable and fundamental.
Q. The Committee of Experts on the Constitution review and the Parliamentary Select Committee seem to have been in agreement in including the Kadhi courts. Do you think the Christians are alone on this one?
A. I think the experts have chosen to be advocates of the Muslim views. For the PSC I think they played politics in Naivasha. I think since they needed the support of the Muslim ‘constituency’ to secure political interest on power and devolution they were shy to tackle the matter.
Q. There is a growing call from the medical practitioners and a section of lawyers, on legalising abortion. Do you think there is justification?
A. The call for prohibition of abortion isn’t only Christian. The general public wants the unborn protected. But even though the majority of Kenyans have spoken we see the experts choosing to side with the views of the minority who have neither numbers nor genuine national interest at heart
My guess is that some of the Experts are sympathisers with the civil society who are pro-abortionist or they (experts) simply don’t care.
Q. With the conflicts on the new draft increasing could your earlier call for minimum reforms be an option?
A. That still remains a viable option since now there are higher chances that the proposed might not pass and again the current constitution is not an option. Those stabilisation reforms we asked for are not outrageous. They are things that address fundamental things in the land.