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Constitution: Big gains despite stiff opposition

By - | August 27th 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

President Kibaki when he took oath of office at a function in State House after the disputed 2007 polls.  [PHOTO: FILe/STANDARD]

By MARTIN MUTUA

Monday marks the second year since the promulgation of the current Constitution and it is a mixed bag of positives and negatives.

Parliament and the Executive are on the spot for different reasons as the country marks the second anniversary of the promulgation of the new Constitution.

Whereas the Judiciary stands out as the beacon of hope for Kenyans, having radically transformed itself under the leadership of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Parliament and the Executive are increasingly seen as the main stumbling blocks to implementation of the Constitution.

Both arms of Government have been blamed for trying to water down the effects of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Integrity. And despite the saga of the failed procurement of a biometric voter registration kit, most Kenyans still believe the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) can still deliver a clean General Election on March 4.

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Among the positives, the Commission on Administrative Justice is already making ripples as it tackles maladministration in Government.

Kenyans can also rest easy knowing that President Kibaki will hand over power to the fourth President in a smooth way as opposed to 2007 when he was sworn in at State House at dusk in a hurriedly convened ceremony as the country exploded in an orgy of post-election violence.

The Assumption of Office of the President Act and the Constitution set out clear guidelines on how a President-elect will take over office, which will have to be in broad daylight.

After the Judiciary unlocked the complaints for the 80 new constituencies, the IEBC has now been given the green light to carry out the process of conducting the next elections under a new Constitutional dispensation.

However, the implementation of the Constitution has hit a snag with regard to police reforms as well as the war on corruption, which could impact negatively on the coming elections.

From Monday the police were supposed have had a new Inspector General and two deputies, among other major changes. The move is likely to open another avenue for hawk-eyed individuals who have been keeping watch on every move on the process by going to court to challenge the legitimacy of the force.

Parliament’s Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) Chairman, Abdikadir Mohamed, insists that apart from appointment of an Inspector General of Police, Parliament has delivered the Constitution to Kenyans on schedule.

“All appointments to the (independent) commissions that were supposed to be set up have been done and we (Parliament) have enacted every piece of legislation every time we have been called upon to do so,” he added. Abdikadir claims Parliament was responsible for reforming the Judiciary right from the time MPs interviewed Chief Justice Willy Mutunga as well as put in place laws to reform the justice system.

“We have also reformed the budget making system and we are on course in turning around the devolution system through the counties, added the CIOC chairman. A couple of controversial rulings, some of which have stopped the Executive in its tracks, have been witnessed, while the backlog of cases is being addressed, giving Kenyans the hope that at last the wheels of justice have began to move a little faster.

A Supreme Court judge was even forced out over claims he delayed to deliver over 200 rulings. The move caused ripples within the Judiciary and some judges took leave in order to conclude rulings for the cases they have handled, but failed to deliver rulings on.

The Executive has also been dragging its feet with regard to the Campaign Financing Bill that will regulate spending by presidential candidates to ensure a level playing filed.

The Bill is yet to tabled with elections a mere six months away.


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