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CIC steps in over Budget day row

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27- The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has now written to Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta over the unfolding constitutional uncertainty of the reading of the next budget.

Confusion has reigned in the past few days after Mr Kenyatta announced that he would read the Budget on June 8.

However, Parliament\’s Budget Committee faulted him saying the new Constitution requires him to first table estimates at least two months before the end of the financial year.

This means that the Finance Minister should have presented the estimates by latest April 8.

"CIC has therefore called upon the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance to expeditiously redress the constitutional violation, so as not to impede the implementation process, particularly the need for public participation in the budget formation process as provided for in the constitution," CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae told journalists on Friday.

He added that although The Treasury has informed the commission that they intend to submit the estimates by May 30, it would still be a breach of the Constitution.

The stand by CIC gives backing to Parliamentary Budget Committee Chairman Elias Mbau who said The Treasury could not decide on the date without consulting the Committee.

He said the delay by the Minister is in breach of Article 221 (1) of the Constitution.

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"On account of the Ministry\’s earlier representations that the Budget shall be read on June 8, it follows that these estimates ought to have reached Parliament latest by April 8," he said.

Mr Nyachae said The Treasury believed there was a divergence in interpretation of the Constitution on presentation of the estimates pointing out that the June 8 date was in tandem with other East African Community countries.

"The view of the Commission is that no organ has the power to extend constitutional timelines. That notwithstanding, it is important that all parties involved in this matter, including Parliament, make  all effort to ensure that this matter is concluded within the shortest time possible so that the spirit of the Constitution is respected and complied with," he said.

At the same time, the CIC has maintained its stand that all state officers and ministers holding the political party offices must relinquish them.

The Commission\’s chairman dismissed the position by ministers occupying top party positions that the provisions which require them to relinquish their party positions will come into force after 2012.

The CIC has advised the Registrar of Political Parties to ensure that ministers, assistant ministers and MPs do not hold positions in parties.

He said; "What the Constitution saved for them is their appointed offices whether they are ministers, assistant ministers (but) the Constitution did not save for them their position in political parties."

Article 77(2) states: "Any appointed State officer shall not hold office in a political party."

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta , Cabinet ministers George Saitoti, Samuel Poghisio, Charity Ngilu, Kiraitu Murungi, Anyang\’ Nyong\’o and Mutula Kilonzo will be required to quit their positions of Chairmen and Secretary Generals.

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As the body charged with overseeing the implementation of the Constitution, The CIC lists the President, Deputy President, Cabinet secretary, MPs, secretary to the Cabinet, Attorney General, judges and magistrates, members of commissions, holder of independent offices, governors and their deputies and county assembly members as State officers.

The letter spares President Kibaki, PM Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Housing Minister Soita Shitanda since the party leader positions they hold are not recognised in party hierarchy.

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