, NAIROBI, Kenya, April 4 – Kenyans have been urged to accept the draft Constitution which was passed unanimously in Parliament on Thursday last week.
The National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) is calling on everyone to be proactive in the remaining stages of the review by participating in the up coming referendum.
Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) Executive Secretary Kawive Wambua said that this is the only way for Kenyans to chart a better destiny for themselves.
“We remind Kenyans that the year 2010 is the year of transformation. Indeed, this occasion has shown that it is futile to try to stop change when time has come,” he said. “As the saying goes, change is inevitable, and the choice is between being a beneficiary of change or a victim of change.”
He was speaking during a press conference where he urged the Attorney General not to tamper with the proposed draft.
“We call upon the Attorney General Amos Wako to stick to the mandate given to his office by the law and not to tamper with any provision in the proposed Constitution of Kenya as his office undertakes the final drafting,” Mr Wambua stated.
“If he accepts to be manipulated by anti-reform forces, history will judge him very harshly,” he added.
At the same time, a cross section of Kenyans have lauded the move by Parliament to pass the draft Constitution by the Committee of Experts.
Those interviewed by Capital News described it as a milestone in the Constitution making process.
Others were of the opinion that the process would still be met by obstacles in the future.
“We had stress. Now we are stress free. We are happy that they have passed it the way that it was,” said Celine Odongo, a hairstylist. “So far, it is much better than what we have,”
“It is anything but perfect but better than what we have,” stated Ben Odindo, a mason.
Parliament on Thursday passed the draft Constitution by the Committee of Experts in a session which was attended by both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“The next step is just to educate Kenyans and to persuade them that we are much better off passing the Constitution instead of staying with the disaster that we have at the moment,” said Vincent Oloo, an accountant in the city.
Meanwhile, the church has been urged to look at the passed draft law objectively and not to oppose the will of Kenyans.
This follows a move by the National Council of Churches of Kenya to distance itself from the proposed Constitution due to the inclusion of the abortion clause.
NCSC President Morris Odhiambo pointed out that their acceptance of the proposed law will go along way in uniting Kenyans.
“Let us not take the views of the leadership of the church to be the views of all Kenyans who profess the Christian faith. I am a Christian but I do not believe that there is any problem with the Kadhi’s courts for example,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Church leaders from Nyanza have distanced themselves from calls by National Council of Churches of Kenya to reject the proposed Constitution.
Nyanza council of churches said that passing of the draft without amendment is a move in the right direction.
Chairman of the Council, Washington Ngede, stated that a high level of maturity was shown during the passing of the draft and lauded the MPs for casting personal and party interest aside.
He noted that the new Constitution though not perfect tends to address many issues that afflict Kenyans on a day to day basis.
The Association of Professional Societies of East Africa (APSEA) supported the proposed Constitution by CoE saying it was the best for Kenyans.
Chairman Daniel Ichang’I said that the numerous amendments brought forward would have changed the document drastically.
He expressed confidence that the passed draft will go a long way in uniting Kenyans.
“For us the consensus position is in the Committee of Experts’ draft. That is where we shall all meet eventually,” Mr Ichang’i stated. “We ourselves have had to cede very strongly held ground on a lot of these issues that we have been engaged in.”
Mr Ichang’I however stressed the need for the views of churches and other organisations to be taken seriously.
“We also are asking that we take cognizance of other very strong groups like the churches and we would like their issues to be addressed in an environment of inclusion because that group also has their own concerns.”