, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) now wants Parliament to either extend its term or establish a new institution to take over from it before the December 31 term limit.
CIC Commissioners led by Vice Chairperson Elizabeth Muli said the National Assembly should decide whether their term will be extended or new members will be engaged.
“We want Parliament to make a decision not because a certain person is there or because they do not want a certain individual; we want an impartial decision. The issue whether one continues to serve or not cannot arise until that issue had been pronounced upon by Parliament,” said Muli.
Muli’s sentiments were reiterated by Commissioner Kamotho Waiganjo who said they were not begging for an extension and are willing to leave if that is the wish of the National Assembly.
“For us as the nine people we are willing to go home on 31st December. We are not those offering ourselves saying allow us to serve please… we are not trying to look for an extra year!” he said going on to state that once the decision was made every individual commissioner would decide whether or not they wanted to continue serving.
Speaking in a meeting with the National Assembly Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) to discuss the fate of the commission, Waiganjo said the Constitution was yet to be fully implemented and it therefore required an institution to oversee the process.
He added that the fact that Parliament had already extended the deadline for constitutional Bills by one year directly determined the fate of the commission but was quick to say this would be determined by the National Assembly.
According to Waiganjo there are many outstanding issues on implementation of the Constitution and it is necessary to have an institution to guide the process.
“The responsibility of ensuring the effective implementation of the devolved system of government is by the commission. We know we have significant challenges in the transition to devolved system and we would still need a mechanism to have that oversight,” said Waiganjo.
“When we leave, who do we leave the keys to? where do our assets go, who will take over, who will close the books, who will ensure the assets of the commission are properly protected? Is it the office of the AG or Parliament… we need to have transition administrative mechanisms,” he pointed out.
They proposed that the new institution have the capabilities of CIC, engage the public like they did and have the same credibility.
When questioned over whether the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) was equal to the task, they stated it was not their place to judge the capability of the commission.
During an earlier appearance before the Senate Legal Affairs committee CIC commissioners had said they would not seek an extension of their term in office as they had done their best.
They also noted that devolution required constant monitoring especially since some Bills originating from the National Assembly were seen to undermine the Senate and hence the need to have an oversight body.
Members of the committee appear inclined at a possible extension of the term of CIC but have yet to make a determination over the matter.
CIOC chairman Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) however said the process of looking for new commissioners would be tedious and the country would have lost out from what it was expected to achieve.