NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 22- The Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee now wants to introduce amendments to the newly enacted law on vetting of judges and magistrates after hiccups in setting up the Vetting Board.
Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed says the law needs to be amended to give more time for the board\’s establishment in order to encourage women to apply for the posts. The law requires that at least a third of the seven-member panel be women, but sadly, no woman has applied to join the crucial body,
"We agreed the best way to go forward having debated the different causes of the Act is to get a very urgent amendment of the law so that the time can be expanded," he told journalists after the three hour meeting which took place on Thursday evening.
Committee Vice Chairperson Millie Odhiambo said they were now encouraging more women to apply for the posts and shed stereotypes.
"Some of th things that we have heard form the women in the past is that, in their view, these are political positions that we only advertise for show but really that the positions are really filled. So what we are telling the women is that the positions are not filled – can they please apply," pleaded the Nominated MP.
The committee as well as the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution plan to meet women professionals on May 4 to urge them to take up the positions.
The Board is mandate to vet all judges and magistrates as provided by the Constitution. This is a crucial cog in the fundamental reforms of Kenya’s judiciary.
A crisis meeting on implementation of the Constitution has endorsed an ambitious timetable agreed by key stakeholders to jumpstart the process after it emerged that only two Bills are before Parliament, four months to the deadline for the enactment of the first 25 legislations.
Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee chairperson Mohammed Abdikadir stressed the gravity of the problem.
"We have got the undertaking that the Cabinet will take maximum two weeks to process this and a minimum one week and in the event that we have an emergency we can have that shortened," Mr Abdikadir.
According to the timetable agreed among the CIC, Attorney General Amos Wako and the Kenya Law Reform Commission chairman Kathurima M’Inoti, MPs will be required to debate and pass some 29 separate Bills will have to be debated and adopted with the next 4 months.
The schedule was tabled by CIC chairman Charles Nyachae during a meeting attended by Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and four Cabinet ministers to clear the stumbling blocks impeding speedy implementation of the Constitution.
The ministries are formulating a raft of Bills touching on reforms in Judiciary, police force, lands, financial management and devolved government.
"It was really the bureaucracy that was not working well, what we have done is to identify where blocs were and get the measures to unlock them, so that we have a smooth process and we have a very close monitoring of that process," said Mr Abdikadir.
The implementation commission wants the Wako and KLRC to submit legislation on Political Parties and Elections for National and County Governments by May 15. The schedule proposes the two laws are enacted in June and July.
Among the concerns raised is that further delays will have the Bills disrupted by discussions on the Budget and caught up in heightened political temperatures
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