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Rights watchdog opposes move by MPs to amend the law

COUNTIES
By - | June 24th 2012

By KEN-ARTHUR WEKESA

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights is up in arms over the move by Members of Parliament to allow presidential losers and their running mates to be nominated to the National Assembly.

The rights body has termed the move that was effected on Wednesday night by MPs through the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2012, saying it is an affront to the rights of special interest groups.

Speaking to The Standard On Sunday, KNCHR acting chairman Samuel Tororei maintained that nominating presidential losers is a blatant violation to special groups especially ethnic minorities.

“The 12 slots according to the Constitution are an exclusive preserve of the Elmolos and Njemps, among other ethnic shades that don’t have the requisite numbers to elect their own.  They also include persons with disabilities,’ said Dr Tororei. 

He added that his commission would remain vigilant against MPs’ attempts to deny these special groups their rights. 

Tororei pointed an accusing finger at the MPs for using the nomination slots to perpetuate political patronage. He called on the citizenry to stand up against a rogue Parliament hell-bent on mutilating the Supreme Law that captures the sovereign will of the majority.

Last-minute party hoppers

‘Kenyans must rise against MPs who drink from the chalice of impunity and want to continue nominating their cronies, who have lost.”

Other special interest groups expected to benefit from nomination include women and workers.

KNHCR has threatened to move to court to seek legal redress should the President assent to the amendments that the rights body has termed unconstitutional.

 Other provisions that KNHCR is contesting include amendment that give soft landing to last-minute party hoppers.

According to the rights body, party hopping poses a threat to the establishment of a strong democratic system.

Meanwhile, Friends of Raila (Fora) members have also threatened to move to court to block the President from approving an amendment on electoral laws.

The lobby group accused MPs of being egocentric by trying to usurp the powers of the people, by adulterating the Constitution to serve their own interest.

Addressing mourners at a funeral in Migingo Village in Kisumu, Fora National Secretary General Eliud Owalo claimed the MPs’ actions must be obstructed.  ‘’There is no way the MPs can play around with the Constitution. No, we must uphold the spirit of the Constitution,’’ said Mr Owalo.

National Fora co-ordinator Jaoko Oburu and Kisumu co-ordinator Israel Kodiaga supported him, saying MPs should have weighed the impact of their actions.

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