NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – The country is staring at a constitutional crisis after the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) expressed its intention to reject the proposed extension of enactment of constitutional Bills whose deadline is set for August 27.
Funyula MP Paul Otwoma who is also ODM Vice Chairman said the extension was unnecessary as the Jubilee Government had failed to do its work within the prescribed time.
“We are not persuaded that the government side is acting in good faith,” he said at the end of a two-day retreat at the Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos.
Party Chairman John Mbadi (Suba MP) said they preferred that the matter be taken to court so that a definite cut-off date is set.
“The court should give clear deadline, rather than give Jubilee the leeway to extend the period indefinitely,” stated Mbadi.
He dismissed the notion that Parliament would stand dissolved if the constitutional deadline with regards to Bills is not met saying, “The constitution is clear on the matter… if the deadline is not met, then anyone can go to court, the court will set a date which if not achieved, then the Chief Justice can advice the President on the dissolution of Parliament.”
The government is proposing an extension of one year for nine constitutional Bills whose deadline is just 10 days away.
ODM leader Raila Odinga decried the fact Jubilee did not consult them over the proposed extension, accusing the government of deliberately delaying passae of the Bills.
“We are not going to assist them in this criminal activity to deny the people of Kenya their constitutional right,” said Odinga.
According to Article 261 (7), Parliament can be disbanded for failing to enact laws for constitutional implementation unless members can rally a two-thirds majority vote to extend the deadline, which in this case requires 233 members (Jubilee has a shortfall of 16 members).
During the retreat where the party took stock of its performance in the last half of the 11th parliament, members
opposed the proposed extension of achievement of the two-thirds gender rule saying the implementation should be done without further delays as pushing the dates would negate the gains made in enhancing women representation.
According to Homabay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, the party will support the proposal by the technical working committee to have party lists nominate women who will participate in the election, and if the number is not met, those nominated will be picked from those that had shown interest in the specific seats.
However the proposal by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkong’a (Ainabkoi) proposes setting aside of the five year deadline by amending Article 81 (b) of the Constitution so that the gender principle is achieved progressively.
ODM also rejected the bid to change the election date from August to December despite the proposal having come from one its members Ugenya MP David Ochieng’.
Odinga took the time to further speak on the ‘bitter’ sugar issue demanding that the jubilee government comes clean on the deal signed with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni saying there was more than what was made public.
He took a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto whom he accused of trying to divert the attention of Kenyans from the thorny issues by linking him to the sugar issues, stating that he was clean.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right. The high priest of corruption in Kenya should not divert our attention to other irrelevant things,”
The party says beginning Thursday this week, they will hold rallies in the sugar belt to educate farmers of the dealings and ensure they are enlightened over what was at stake.