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Implementation constitution faces fresh challenges

By | March 6th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Stephen Makabila

With Parliament on recess, uncertainty hovering over pending judicial appointments, and political temperatures hitting boiling point, fears linger on whether the new Constitution would be implemented on schedule.

Persistent conflicts within the Grand Coalition Government and shifting political alliances have compromised the process, which is delayed.

Legal experts fear the country may not hold the General Election, due next year, before some reforms under the new Constitution are legislated.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara argues forces of impunity have been re-grouping to frustrate the implementation.

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"Some of those who were in the ‘No’ camp in the referendum campaigns and those who were referred to as ‘watermelons’ have now joined forces to frustrate the implementation," Mr Imanyara said, last week, when he spoke at the Standard Group Centre during the Standard Press Freedom Day.

Quality debate

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Commissioner, Hassan Omar Hassan, says the problem with those in authority is that "they are implementing the new Constitution but not enforcing the same".

Hassan further notes, "The media should lead the revolution in pushing the Government to enforce the new Constitution. There has to be change and accountability."

Moi University law lecturer, Titus Bittok, says though the implementation was slow, the country should also be wary of rushing the process only to come up with weak half-baked legislations rubber-stamped by the political side with higher numbers in Parliament.

"We should strive to work within the schedule, but let us have quality debate in Parliament devoid of party affiliations to churn out strong legislations," Bittok said.

When Parliament reconvenes within a fortnight, the hope is that political temperatures would have cooled down to bring back the implementation process on track.

Approving extra spending of Sh3.4 billion for implementation of the new Constitution would be among top agenda awaiting MPs when they reconvene.

New Constitution

The MPs would expect to pass laws on devolution and electoral reforms and approve a fresh list of nominees for the offices of Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, and Controller of Budget.

Among some of the urgent constitutional issues is the formation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission by merging the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the defunct Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission.

Senior Counsel Paul Muite told The Standard On Sunday in a recent interview that no elections would be held before the formation of the IEBC.

Muite also says anti-reformists were out to scuttle the implementation of the new Constitution for their own interests.

Sirisia MP Moses Wetang’ula, a lawyer, however feels the reform process was on track, though slow.

University of Nairobi political scientist Adams Oloo says the Coalition Government was going to be stormy in the remaining two years than it was in the first three years due to succession politics.


new constitution promulgation Gitobu Imanyara Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
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