NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – A section of the civil society is now calling for a pre-referendum Memorandum of Understanding by leaders to avoid the derailment of the constitution making process.
Kenyans for Justice and Development (KEJUDE) wants an agreement reached between church leaders and Members of Parliament pledging that amendments would be made to the proposed Constitution should it pass at the referendum.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, activist Okiya Omtatah said this would ensure that there were no divisions leading up to the referendum.
“Church leaders should reject verbal assurances and demand that President Mwai Kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga lead MPs into signing a pre-referendum memorandum of understanding that immediately the new Constitution is ratified, they will embark on amendments to remove all offending clauses,” Mr Omtatah said.
While underlining that the church was a well-established and powerful institution, Mr Otatah said that an MOU would be able to soften hard line position being taken on the abortion and Kadhis courts clauses.
“Politicians should not dismiss the position of the church as dismal and parochial,” he said.
The Easter break presented a perfect platform for church leaders to air their views on Parliament’s recent passing of the proposed Constitution without making a single amendment to the document.
The National Council of Churches of Kenya has already distanced itself from the document saying it could not support it due to the inclusion of the abortion clause.
Mr Otatah said that the support of the church on the proposed law would play a meaningful role in uniting Kenyans ahead of the crucial vote.
At the same time, KEJUDE convener Neto Agostinho faulted the Committee of Experts for failing to iron out what the contentious issues were before subjecting Kenyans to a referendum.
Mr Agostinho said this would have helped in building consensus amongst Kenyans on the way forward.
“Kenyans should have been having a document that highlights all the issues that have been agreed upon have them in one bundle and others that haven’t been agreed upon but that didn’t happen,” he said.