NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – The deputy chairperson of the defunct Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review Atsango Chesoni says antagonism between the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and the Cabinet has been a major hindrance to the implementation process.
Ms Chesoni said on Friday that CIC must be let to do the work it is constitutionally mandated to do.
“There needs to be understanding at the level of Cabinet that there is a constitutional body which is meant to provide technical advice. There needs to be respect for that institution and respect for the process, that when they (Cabinet) are advised then the advice should be followed otherwise we end up with statutes that result in double labour,” she said.
In an interview with Capital News, the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Kenya Human Rights Commission is optimistic that cultural change brought about by the new Constitution will take root and even among those with contrary belief.
“One of the biggest threats to the implementation of this Constitution is old habits; people are used to the old way of doing things and continue acting as if nothing has changed. People holding public offices must be made aware of the changes brought about by the Constitution because that culture change in terms of how we do things is taking time,” she said.
Ms Chesoni believes that the public has played a much more important oversight role than the government in implementing the laws that give life to the constitution and in her assessment the government gets four while the public gets six points rated on a scale of one to 10.
“If you look at the Judiciary, the process by which Dr Mutunga and his Deputy were appointed then you see that it is a process that had confidence because of its transparency. It is a every important process in restoring confidence in the justice system,” she said.
“The Constitution has also empowered the people to say when they are not happy with the way thing are being done. It has given people the courage,” she added.
Although Ms Chesoni acknowledged that the implementation process had been slow, she finds the biggest achievement of this Constitution in the past one year is the restoration of confidence in institutions by promoting transparency in the manner in which people were appointed- like the chief justice – and the participation of the public.
She warned that people who did not support the Constitution at the referendum will find ways of derailing the implementation of the supreme law and the public must stay vigilant.
“If you look at some of the legislations being passed then you will see as attempt by those who opposed the constitution to introduce things that were not achieved by preventing the constitution from coming into effect so that we then have claw backs.”
“It is important we look at the Bills being passed to confirm that they are indeed constitutional,” she added with particular concern at the elections Bill that has attracted many amendments in Parliament.