Thursday, August 19, 2010



Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi John Cardinal Njue, (left) addressing a press conference over the new Constitution at the Holy Family Basilica, August 19, 2010. He is with Bishop Peter Kairu of Nyeri and Bishop Peter Kihara of Marsabit. PETERSON GITHAIGA | NATION

Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi John Cardinal Njue, (left) addressing a press conference over the new Constitution at the Holy Family Basilica, August 19, 2010. He is with Bishop Peter Kairu of Nyeri and Bishop Peter Kihara of Marsabit. PETERSON GITHAIGA | NATION

Posted Thursday, August 19 2010 at 12:40

The Catholic Church Thursday demanded for amendments of new Constitution immediately after it is proclaimed next week.

Its top-decision making organ-the Kenya Episcopal Conference headed by John Cardinal Njue insisted that the changes were possible “as a matter of urgency” despite the new Constitution indicating it would be an uphill task.

Chapter 16 stipulates that certain sections of the Constitution such as the Bill of Rights can only be amended with the approval of people through a referendum while others would require the support of a million signatures.

The amendments must also be approved by both the Senate and the Lower House.

Addressing journalists at Holy Family Basilica, the 25 Catholic Bishops cited sections on life, family, reproduction health, equity and justice as those that should be immediately amended.

“These issues cannot be taken lightly as they touch on life of Kenyans…We are not saying we do not accept the constitution but want the changes addressed. We hope after inauguration of new constitution the changes would be taken as a matter of importance,” Cardinal Njue said.

Responding to an observation from the Nation that amendments would take time as some required to establishment of counties and the Senate, Cardinal Njue who together with Kisumu Archbishop Zaccheaus Okoth read a statement on behalf of the bishops, said: “It is not difficult. Even if they do the amendments today…the better.”

They added that President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga should also fulfill their campaign promise that amendments would be done after the passage of new constitution.

They also thrashed opinion polls suggestions that Kenyans had lost confidence with the Church following the outcome of referendum saying “the truth and right are not about numbers.

Further, they said, they were not in a popularity contest.

“We therefore, as the shepherds placed to give moral guidance to our people, still reiterate the need to address the flawed moral issues in this new constitution. That voice will never be silenced,” they said, in the statement titled May God be with Kenya!

They said they were convinced they had played their role with diligence and respect and that they had not shied away from stating the tenets of their faith in regard to certain issues in the constitution.

It desires an “authentic” reform process and will remain at forefront to support a good constitution and the legal reform process.

“This reform process cannot end, must not end, since we all aspire to build a better society that will respect the rights of all and facilitate our economic, social and moral development,” they said, adding that most Kenyans recognised the new constitution they voted for had errors that needed to be corrected.

They also called for vigilance of the implementation process of new constitution so that new legislations respect “natural law.”

They also called for mutual respect of all, forgiveness, peace and unity among Kenyans.

The leaders said civic education on new constitution should continue.

“We would like to invite all Kenyans to join us in the task of developing a better society where all our members are cherished and loved, where human solidarity and economic effectiveness travel side by side. The destiny of our country is more important than individuals,” they said.

Speaking to the Nation from Singapore where he is attending an official function, Youth and Sports assistant minister Kabando wa Kabando said it was needless to chase for elusive amendments.

“Defeated No camp should show humility and set independent non-Parliamentary audit to checkmate government implementation of law. Party parleys and shows are diversionary sideshows. We can and must bring joy and success as we entrench katiba season,” Mr Kabando said.

He said implementation of the new constitution especially Chapter 6 would make Kenya register growth.

The Committee of Experts chairman Nzamba Kitonga has also since opposed any amendments to the new Constitution before it is applied and its efficacy tested.

He said although the right to amend new constitution is enshrined in it, it is a “weighty and grave” matter that it should take at least 10 years before any change could be done.

“It cannot happen now as the Senate is not there. We have not even formed counties. After 10 years when it is understood and has started working, there might even be no need to change anything,” Mr Kitonga said.

Amending even one clause of a Constitution impacts on the entire document leading to distortion and disharmony in its structure adding that this was why the old constitution was disfigured beyond recogniti

  1. Submitted by rofi
    Posted August 19, 2010 01:29 PM

    We love our Church leaders; however, let them just accept that we voted the way we did and now we want to go church for spiritual nourishment and we promise not to mention the referendum ever again.

  2. Submitted by omwambi
    Posted August 19, 2010 01:09 PM

    The Catholic church need to be realistic and practical.Instead of making lots of noise on amendments, they can be more useful by being more vigilant on the implementation.It is after the implementation that realistic amendments can be done after get the true effects of the new constitution.By now people are only speculating the likely effects.Also the Catholic church is only reacting out of personal feeling and emotions.Let them pin-point the negative aspects of the constitution after it has been implemented.

  3. Submitted by alexmujuni
    Posted August 19, 2010 01:08 PM

    After the successful referendum, the law should be promulgated and then ammendments should follow according to the letter of the Law. Let us be realistic. We live in a democratic country and should behave so. Let those who want ammendments use the laid down procedures. Otherwise we will be fighting instead of developing the country. My prayer is that Wako is dropped immediately the proposed constitution is promulgated. The Man is anti-reform.

  4. Submitted by dxkuk
    Posted August 19, 2010 01:07 PM

    The faces of sour loser, we need to enact the new constitution and not change anything for another 10 years.

  5. Submitted by zumambeki
    Posted August 19, 2010 01:01 PM

    Where have you guys been. I was contemplating going to Church just to see whether you guys still exist thank you for saving me the time.