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Politicians told to keep interests out of debate

By | November 25th 2009

By Paul Gitau and David Ochami

Politicians should put their differences and interests aside for Kenyans to get a new constitution.Education Minister Sam Ongeri urged politicians to drum up support for the Harmonised Draft Constitution regardless of their ambitions.

"If we stop personalising the document, we should get a new constitution," he said.

The minister spoke on Tuesday after opening a Sh670 million tourist hotel in Watamu. The Seventh Day Adventist Church has put up the hotel.

Prof Ongeri asked Kenyans to read the draft constitution and give views as directed by the Committee of Experts within the 30 days.

He said a good constitution should guarantee fairness, equal distribution of resources and keep the country united.

Meanwhile, MPs have accused some ministers of inciting hate and division over the draft constitution.

The Parliamentary Reform Caucus (PRC) accused some ministers of "taking hard-line positions" on the draft.

"For ministers who go to public meetings and tell us this law is bad because of one clause, we are telling them do not sabotage this draft," said Garsen MP Danson Mungatana.

Kisumu Town East MP Olago Aluoch said hostile speech threatens review process and an historic opportunity to write a new constitution.

"Do not read the draft selectively," he said, adding MPs should promote dialogue through informal meetings.

Elsewhere, members of the Coast Parliamentary Group plan a two-day retreat to discuss the draft.

The group’s secretary general Gideon Mung’aro said the forum would give local MPs an opportunity to be taken through the draft by a team of experts and lawyers.

Mr Mung’aro said they would support the opinions of the locals, who have been calling for a federal system of government.

The MPs will also discuss the local land problem.

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Harmonised Draft is Kenya’s hope for a new beginning
Before the launch of the Harmonized Draft Constitution of Kenya, I was sceptical whether the draft will be able to provide the constitutional solution that this country so urgently needs.