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Mutula: Selfish MPs sabotaging law process

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo on Friday censured Members of Parliament for snubbing the President\’s directive to expedite the implementation of the constitution.

Mr Kilonzo argued that MPs had been sabotaging the implementation of the constitution by politicising the process and using it to settle political scores.

House Speaker Kenneth Marende on Thursday held an unproductive informal meeting with the legislators in an attempt to resolve wrangles that have paralysed business for the Justice and Legal Affairs committee which is tasked with scrutinising crucial Bills for the implementation of the constitution.

The divisions in the departmental committee have also seen parliamentary debate on the nominations for Chief Justice, deputy Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecution delayed.

"MPs need to realise that this country is much more important than the political parties; in fact no one knows which party will come to power in 2012," he said.

"We cannot tell this country that the interviews conducted by the Judicial Service Commission are enough because they are not. We must play our role as parliamentarians," he added.

The Justice Minister particularly singled out ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) politicians saying they had been shooting down proposals made on the way forward with regard to resolving the impasse.

The PNU (Party of National Unity) arm had proposed that the current membership of the Legal Affairs committee be increased from 11 to 15 to form an ad-hoc justice committee.

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The four extra individuals would be nominated by PNU and ODM.  Three of the positions would filled by the ODM while PNU opted to give up the remaining slot to Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.

"We said that out of the four, three would be nominated by ODM and one by PNU and we (PNU) even gave the position to Ms Karua. But when we met in the House Business Committee in the evening, the ODM was calling for more consultations," he said.

"I think for the ODM the country is number 10 and they need to put the country first," he asserted.

Mr Kilonzo who spoke on the sidelines of a civil society consultative forum further asked Kenyans not to turn down the Chief Justice nominee Willy Mutunga because of his trademark earring.

"Even my wife wears studs; my grandparents wore studs. Maybe if I had a chance I would have pierced my ears as well so let\’s judge people by what they bring to the table and not what sort of studs they wear," he retorted.

The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution also separately noted that the incessant divisions in Parliament and the apparent lack of political will were delaying the implementation process.

Commission chairman Charles Nyachae cited the ongoing delay over the passage of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Salaries and Remuneration Commission Bills as well as the debate and approval of the top judicial nominees as a sign of a lack of commitment by the two organs.

"The Principals did their part in the shortest possible time yet the approval of the judicial nominees gets stuck in Parliament. It is honestly unacceptable," he said.

Mr Nyachae warned that the deadlock in the legal committee would also delay the vetting of judges and magistrates because the process was supposed to be overseen by the Chief Justice.

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