National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) supports call for amendments to the constitution

Religious leaders under the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) want a body created to deal with any constitutional amendments.

The umbrella body called on the creation of a body similar to the defunct Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC), adding that though the calls by different groups is legitimate and within the framework of the constitution; they were worried about the vested interests behind the push.

At a press briefing yesterday, the umbrella body led by it General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja said the body if created will receive, analyze and harmonize memoranda from different initiatives and all Kenyans and advice on emergent options and their ramifications.

"This executive committee has followed with keen interest the debate surrounding proposals by various parties to amend sections of the constitution. However, we are concerned that the divisive nature of the campaigns for these proposals and the vested interests represented bear the hallmarks of a dangerous political and tribal contest that could throw the country into a spin," he said.

NCCK said there was need for a legal framework to allow for the creation of the said body adding that the framework would facilitate the identification of areas of consensus on amendments that do not require a referendum and can be processed through parliament.

Canon Karanja speaking for NCCK added that the framework would also help decide on amendments that require a referendum, isolate amendment proposals that are incompatible alternatives, supervise the conduct of civic education prior to a referendum and identify the best time for a referendum.

"We are convinced that by establishing such a body, all Kenyans will be given an opportunity to table proposals on issues of concern and have the proposals managed in a prudent and responsible manner so that the outcome is better for all," he added.

The umbrella body also touched on electoral reforms where they asked the Attorney General files a case in court seeking judicial interpretation and determination of the constitutional provision for the date of elections as it applies to the 2017 elections.

They recommended that parliament considers facilitating the extension of the term for Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners by a year given their term might expire in the middle of an electoral process.

"An extension will allow IEBC commissioners to complete the elections and deal with the aftermath. The other recommendation is to reconstitute IEBC and pay off the current commissioners for the remaining period of their term," Canon Karanja added.

NCCK also asked the President to accelerate his fight against corruption adding that individuals and institutions involved in corruption should be unmasked and blacklisted.

They asked for speedy prosecution of those found culpable of corruption adding that the president should facilitate the recovery of corruption proceeds.

"We also urge the president to consider leading all senior government officials in declaring their wealth and subjecting them to a lifestyle audit," he added.

Other issues the churches umbrella body included the ongoing climate change conference in Paris, France, pointing out that they hoped a new agreement favorable to all countries would be reached.