Proposed Kenya law faulted

June 27, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27- Christian lawyers have faulted the proposed new constitution over the high thresholds it has placed on key chapters claiming they were too rigid.

The lawyers who have asked Kenyans not to sacrifice their moral values at the expense of a new law also said the amendments ought to have been done before the publication of the draft.

Chairperson of the Kenya Christian Lawyers Fellowship Ann Mbugua on Saturday said it would be difficult for Kenyans to make any changes to the proposed law as they would have to be through popular representative initiative.

"The counties will be constituted after 2012 which means for any amendment to be done, we will have to wait for 2012. Let\’s come to the issue like of abortion; how many children will have been killed before we decide to amend? Some people will suffer irreparable damage because of the delay of amendments," she argued.
Ms Mbugua added that the country lacked political will that would help ensure any sought amendments.

"Marshalling Parliament to amend the constitution is almost impossible. If you consider what happened in Parliament on the day they were supposed to consider the over 200 amendments then you realize we do not have the political commitment to take us through this process," she said.

Ms Mbugua who was speaking after a meeting for African Christian Lawyers also said that they (Christian lawyers) remained hopeful for a consensus on the contents of the proposed law.

"We all desire a new constitution especially because of the governance reforms it will bring but we are being forced to reject it because we have no other option. If we can still discuss these issues and resolve them then we will all get on the same boat," she said.

South African advocate Teresa Conradie also urged Kenyans not to vote for the proposed law until they were certain about its contents.

"Make sure that it will not be necessary to make amendments to the constitution very soon. The South African constitution was adopted in 1997 and 13 years later there have been no significant successful amendments. It would be naïve for Kenyans to believe that it will be easy to change things," she said.

She further said that a homegrown constitution would be the best option for Kenyans as it would effectively meet their needs.

"There are a lot of clauses in Kenya\’s proposed new constitution that come out of the South African constitution whose contents in turn came out of the Canadian constitution. We have found in South Africa that because our constitution was borrowed from a North American source that there are clauses we do not feel comfortable with," she cautioned.

Kenyans were also asked to remain patient and steadfast in their search for a new law.


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