Tuesday, March 3, 2009



Monday, March 2 2009

Review team has until March next year to deliver a draft constitution
Kenyans will have to wait longer as hopes of having a new constitution before the end of the year as promised by government were dashed on Monday.

Justice minister Martha Karua and Attorney General Amos Wako said the committee of experts on the review process has until March 2, 2010, to deliver a draft constitution.

According to Ms Karua, the 12-month countdown stipulated in the Constitution of Kenya Review Act, 2008, began on Monday.

She was referring to section 28 (1) of the Act that reads: “The committee of experts shall complete its work within a period of twelve months of the commencement of this Act”.

However, section 1 of the Act stipulates that it shall come into force upon its publication within 14 days from the date of assent. President Kibaki assented to the law on December 24 last year.

Ms Karua and Mr Wako were speaking when they introduced the chairperson of the committee of experts on the constitutional review, Mr Nzamba Kitonga. Mr Kitonga’s deputy is Ms Atsango Chesoni, daughter of former Chief Justice Zacchaeus Chesoni.

Mr Kitonga is a senior counsel who serves as the president of the Comesa Court of Justice. Ms Chesoni is a women’s rights activist and a consultant, who has written extensively on law and women’s rights issues.

Members of the committee, including Mr Wako and director Dr Ekuru Aukot who are ex-officio members of the committee, were later sworn in by Chief Justice Evan Gicheru.

The local experts are Mr Kitonga, Ms Chesoni, Ms Njoki Ndung’u, Mr Otiende Amolo, Mr Abdirashid Hussein and Mr Bobby Mkangi.

They will work with three foreigners — Prof Christina Murray (South Africa), Dr Chaloka Beyani (Zambia) and Mr Frederick Ssempembwa (Uganda) — who were proposed by the Kofi Annan team.

Prof Murray, a law professor in South Africa, had not arrived in the country by the time of the swearing in.

The committee is expected to collect views from Kenyans and other stakeholders to draft a constitution. It is to be guided by the existing constitution documents, including what was agreed on during the 2005 Bomas conference.

The harmonised draft will then be presented to Parliament for adoption before it is put forward for the referendum vote.

Was rejected

The last time the country took a shot at a new constitution was in 2005, but the draft was rejected during a referendum held in November of that year.

Fourteen days before the signing of the power-sharing deal between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, ODM and PNU committed themselves to giving the country a new constitution within a year.

And during the signing of the agreement on February 28, the two leaders reaffirmed this position.

However, it was not until late last year that the law kick-starting the process was passed by Parliament.
June 24, 2008, Ms Karua told Parliament that it was not practical to have a new constitution within the set time frame.

Submitted by okamala
Posted March 03, 2009 10:11 AM

From the Bomas draft, we only had a few contentious issues, my take is that this new team should have used this as a basis and then subjected to a referendum ONLY THOSE THAT REMAIN CONTETIOUS. Whichever the approachnn at the end let's not subject the WHOLE draft to YES or NO options in the referendum, as this will only play in the hands of those with selfish interests.

Submitted by Hillaryio
Posted March 03, 2009 09:32 AM

The reason the constitution has constantly stalled is because of the big elephant in the house(politician). I believe that politics should not takeover from legal experts and the ordinary people. Legal experts should provide counsel, and the ordinary people should be allowed to air out their views and provide input. Politicians, like MPs, should help by passing the important bills, not to elevate the will of their political parties but to help the course of Kenyans. Until we get these pieces together, our puzzle will remain unresolved.

Submitted by TARBEY
Posted March 03, 2009 08:25 AM

Don't re-elect them.Please!AT least Kenyans have this right to fire them!Lets watch them very carefully!This year is the decider,any politician who derails the process should be marked for dismissal and subsequent investigation in 2012

Submitted by ukweli09
Posted March 03, 2009 07:17 AM

so this is another millions down. i can predict. bumpy ride on taking views, legal tussles, anyang' nyong'o,martha karua,mutula kilonzo and others,mistrust,demonstrations.YES n NO vote,of coz we wil need two camps.a new constitution then fresh elections.mmmh...who wants to risk?frustrate the efforts and wait for 2012.

Submitted by pole_kenya09
Posted March 03, 2009 03:59 AM

Clearly, a new constitution is the last thing this government wants as its aware if it delivers one, there might be demands for a new general election. The strategy therefore is to keep Kenyans hopeful but not necessarily with tangible results. What matters is to appear to be doing ' a good job.' Pole Kenya!

Submitted by wuod_aketch
Posted March 03, 2009 12:53 AM

If this committee is expected to collect views from Kenyans and other stakeholders to draft a constitution, let them put up a blogosphere on the internet where Kenyans from the diaspora can also participate in the drafting. This is a great chance for this country - there are many competent Kenyans out there who are just eager to provide input. The constitution should not be drafted under the table or by Wako like the last one.