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Kenya draft law awaits publication

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7- Attorney General Amos Wako on Wednesday received the Proposed Constitution from Parliament for publication.

While receiving the draft law from the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, Mr Wako promised Kenyans that he would not make any alterations to the document. 

Section 47 of the Constitution of Kenya defines alteration as any amendments or modification to the draft.

“I want to assure the people of Kenya that I will not amend; I will not affect any modification to the draft Constitution. I will only do editorial corrections which are not aimed at changing the meaning or setting of clauses in the draft,” he explained.

The AG also said he would publish the draft before the end of the 30-day period as provided by the review Act.

Parliament last week passed the draft without any amendments after several attempts to introduce changes were frustrated by walkouts from MPs.

“I cannot tell you exactly when I will publish, but I can assure you that when I complete the exercise the event will be a public one. So just be patient and wait,” said Mr Wako.

Speaking at Parliament Buildings, Speaker Kenneth Marende said Parliament was relieved to be passing the draft as the next organ of review.

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“As the Speaker, I am a very happy man that the wheel is still turning, that the conveyor belt did not stall in Parliament. Parliament has played its role as the third organ of review without any serious hitch; we have had serious practice of democracy even as we input the process,” he said.

After its publication, the Committee of Experts will embark on countrywide civic education before the referendum.

Both the AG and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo have in the meantime disagreed with MPs who want to amend the Constitution of Kenya Review (Amendment) Act 2008 to pave the way for renegotiation of contentious issues in the Proposed Constitution.

“The law provides that it (draft) must go to the people for a referendum; it does not provide for any amendment to take place in between the passage of the Bill and referendum,” he said.

Mr Kilonzo emphasised that such a move could complicate Kenyans’ search for a new constitutional order.

“People forget that we have a Constitution in Section 47 (A) that requires a referendum and even if you remove that one you would fall back on the Justice Ringera judgment (of 2005) ordering a referendum and therefore you put yourself in a political trap unnecessarily,” he said.

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