, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – The Cabinet has ruled out any changes to the proposed Constitution dealing a major blow to negotiations between the government and Churches before the referendum.
The decision was reached at a Cabinet Meeting at State House Nairobi that was chaired by President Mwai Kibaki.
A statement from the President’s Press Service said Cabinet concluded that it was practically impossible to amend the Constitution Review Act in order to accommodate concerns expressed by Christian Church leaders and others at this stage.
The Cabinet resolved to support the draft constitution in its current form but agreed that talks between the government and Church continue to "accommodate their concerns on the issue of abortion and right to life.”
If agreement is reached, then such changes will have to be incorporated once the draft is passed in a referendum through an Act of Parliament.
Below is the full Cabinet brief to the media:
The Cabinet today reviewed preparations being made on the upcoming referendum on the constitution and efforts being made to develop a consensus.
In this regard the Cabinet scrutinized the time table leading to the referendum as set out in the Constitution Review Act 2008 and the Constitution of Kenya.
After the review the Cabinet concluded that it was practically impossible at this stage to amend the Constitution of Kenya or Constitution Review Act in order to accommodate concerns expressed by Christian Church leaders and others.
Consequently Cabinet agreed to support the draft constitution in its current form.
However it was also agreed that the government will continue engaging leaders of the Christian Churches with a view to agreeing on an act of parliament that would accommodate the concerns of the Christian Churches on the issue of abortion and right to life.
Meeting under the Chairmanship of President Mwai Kibaki at State House Nairobi, the Cabinet further directed the Minister in charge of registration of persons and the Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs to expedite and expand the acquisition of identity cards and registration of voters.
The government will also mobilise the provincial administration and intensify the campaign for registration to enable as many Kenyans as possible to register as voters before the deadline.
Today’s Cabinet meeting also approved the program for the revival of the Pan Paper Mills.
The Cabinet further approved ratification of the East African Community Common Market Protocol that is set to come into force later in the year.
The protocol allows for the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services within the five member states.
Cabinet underscored the need for the Kenyan public to be educated on the implications and benefits of the Common Market Protocol.
It was also good news for farmers and traders as Cabinet approved the development of the Nairobi Fresh Produce Wholesale Market at Kasarani.
Also approved at today’s meeting are key policy reforms meant to give a major boost to the livestock industry. These are:
– Veterinarian Surgeons and Para-professionals Bill 2009.
– Poultry Industry policy reforms.
– Dairy Industry development policy.
– Bee keeping Industry development policy.
The Cabinet has also approved the Extradition Treaty with the Republic of Rwanda.