Push for referendum ill-advised, says Nyachae

August 27, 2013 1:40 pm
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Commission Chairman Charles Nyachae lashed out at politicians who been clamouring for a referendum to amend the Constitution saying they should instead reserve their energies for the implementation of the law/FILE
Commission Chairman Charles Nyachae lashed out at politicians who been clamouring for a referendum to amend the Constitution saying they should instead reserve their energies for the implementation of the law/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has dismissed calls for a referendum to amend the Constitution, only three years after it was promulgated, saying they are misguided.

Commission Chairman Charles Nyachae lashed out at politicians who been clamouring for a referendum to amend the Constitution saying they should instead reserve their energies for the implementation of the law.

Nyachae, who was speaking in Taveta where he launched the third report on the implementation of the Constitution on Tuesday, accused politicians of pushing for a referendum to satisfy their personal ambitions.

Governors and politicians affiliated to the CORD alliance have been pushing for a referendum arguing that the spirit of devolution is at risk but the CIC chairman accused the political class of lacking commitment to implement the Constitution.

“The proposed amendments are premature and may have the effect of derailing the implementation process. In some of the proposed amendments such as the role of the Senate, sufficient goodwill and effort to give effect to the Constitution have not been given,” he said.

Some Governors and Senators want the Constitution amended to peg the allocation to Counties at 40 percent as opposed to having the ‘not less than 15 percent’ stated in the Constitution.

Nyachae however said that the argument was ill advised because there were certain guidelines that must be followed first.

He termed the proposal to amend Article 203 (2) to increase the minimum equitable share of national revenue from 15 percent to a higher figure as perplexing.

“The basis of sharing revenue is to enable counties carry out their Fourth Schedule functions. The transfer of these functions is not yet complete, they have not been costed and the three year transfer period contemplated in Section 15 of the Sixth Schedule has only just begun,” he explained.

He added that the process of transferring functions to counties was rushed because most counties were not prepared to carry them out and that the sequence of activities laid out in the Transition to Devolved Government Act 2012 was not followed.

Nyachae further observed that there were delays in the passage of laws meant to take money to the counties adding that MPs, Governors, County Governments and Assemblies had all failed in the roles assigned to them in the devolution process.

“CIC is also informed by the danger of opening the Constitution to amendments that are not for the benefit of the people and would very well undermine the architecture of the Constitution,” he said.

The commission further noted that proposals to remove members of the Judiciary, Parliament and County Assemblies from the category of State Officers were suspicious and worrisome.

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