He steered law review, now it’s implementation

October 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – He oversaw the Constitution review process for two years, during which period he often found himself at the centre of supremacy battles in the Coalition government.

But he gallantly soldiered on, displaying considerable sobriety and confidence as he led the 27-member Parliamentary Select Committee.

At 39 and on his first-term in Parliament, Abdikadir Mohammed is way ahead of his fellow MPs in leadership qualities.

As politicians in the PSC strongly pushed for political parties’ and regional interests, he steered the team towards national interest and patriotic duty.

Mr Mohammed’s efforts have been recognised by his peers who have now handed him the baton to lead the Constitution implementation process, although not without usual ODM-PNU controversy.

In an exclusive interview, the newly appointed Chairman of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee confessed to Capital News that he had contemplated quitting at the height of the political controversy.

Q. Your election was somewhat surrounded by controversy. Did you at any time feel like quitting at the centre of this unending war of the coalition government?

A. Yes. There were times when I was wondering whether I should really move forward with it, but that is now behind us so let’s not get into it.

Indeed I had very many colleagues and friends who felt this might not be the right circumstances to be associated with my name. But I knew the projections the chair had to have was one of unity and pull everyone together and once we settled that on Saturday we had a good start.

Q. How does it feel to get the responsibility of leading the implementation of the new Constitution fresh from leading the review process?

A. I am glad I have that responsibility; it’s a huge task but we have a large team of 26 other members. I definitely feel the weight of the nation on my shoulders. Failure here will mean failure with the over two decades struggle.

Q. How important is this post that warranted such attention?

A. This is one of the most critical functions going forward because the Constitution as a document is extremely good but as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

It is whether we implement this as the drafters and the people of Kenya wanted. It is whether we handle it with the spirit of the new law, timely and in a fashion that the people of Kenya can see the gains of change. So whoever handles the implementation in any of the key organs is very critical.

Q. As you take up this new role what is your priority?
A. My number one focus is to ensure that we meet all timelines and that the spirit of the new Constitution is followed. We must also ensure that we meet quick gains for the Kenyans so that they can appreciate their struggle was not in vain.

Kenyans have invested a lot in this process and they want to see the fruits of change.

Q. In the implementation process which one step do you think is key in our reform agenda?
A. One of the most critical decisions we will be making is who will be the next Chief Justice. If we get the right person, male or female from whichever region, then you can be sure reforming the Judiciary will be easy.

If you have a reformed Judiciary that will do so much for the other two organs that if we did not do well in our politics or the Executive we are assured of justice. You can be sure that the country will have changed because justice is the bedrock of a country.

Q. What do you see as a major challenge for the committee?
A. Of course we are not naïve that politicians have personal interests but we should have a basic minimum where we agree.

Secondly how we set the next two years will be very critical for the direction we take. How we set the path for devolution for example is critical. Do we make it very watered for instance? Again how do we vet the judges?

Q. What will be your high moment moving forward?

A. I will be happy if we put the country on the right track and if we take the first few steps in a decent manner that people accept we are moving on well.


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