NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has appealed to lawyers in the country to play an active role in ensuring the new Constitution is implemented and respected.
Odinga also appealed to Kenyans to stop resistance to the Constitution out of the fear of the unknown.
He singled out resistance to Devolution and the restructuring of the provincial administration, which he said is caused by a refusal by some to understand what it entails.
“Some people are resisting Devolution because they have refused to understand it. They refuse to accept that what is coming may be much better than what we already have,” he said.
Odinga said that although he is campaigning to be president and believes he will win, he is opposed to the appointment of County Commissioners to work alongside the Governors as representatives of the presidency.
“I don’t think the centralised system can work side by side with the devolved system. I am saying this despite seeking to be President. Some people are saying we need the Commissioners as representatives of the President. I object. The President will have to find ways of working with the Governors. That is the only way we will unite this country,” the PM said.
The PM said the country is at a critical stage that needed the engagement of lawyers as they have done at other times of great transition.
“We are in very challenging times as a country. We are in transition from the old order to a new order. As was expected, we are experiencing some resistance and your role will be critical,” said Odinga after he received the Council of the Law Society of Kenya at his offices.
The LSK officials led by their chairman Eric Mutua had visited the PM to present a petition on Amendments made through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2012.
In a memorandum, the LSK sought to have the Government reconsider amendments made to the Advocates Act, the Civil Procedure Act, the Magistrates Court Act, Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Act and The National Cohesion and Integration Act.
However, President Mwai Kibaki had earlier on Friday assented to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2012 after Parliament deleted clauses disallowing party hopping and a mandatory degree for Members of Parliament.
Attorney General Githu Muigai last week told the LSK that changes that parliament changes had approved on the on the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act could be reversed through a stand alone Bill.
The LSK has also received assurances from the Minister of Justice that the government will in two weeks look into sections in the Statute law Miscellaneous Amendment Bill that the Law Society of Kenya has objected to.
LSK also sought assurance from the government that the provisions of Leadership and Integrity Act will be implemented faithfully.
The officials said that the issue of whether leaders involved in the ICC cases and who have been mentioned in unresolved corruption scandals should run for political office raises the bigger issue of voters’ role in fighting corruption and participating in the implementation of the Constitution.