Political parties meet to discuss constitution review
Published on June 17, 2008, 12:00 am
By James Ratemo And Marion Wambugu
The quest for a new constitution will get a boost today as parties step in to jumpstart the process.
But members of the civil society called for caution, saying they want the final document in a referendum.
Today, leaders from 36 political parties are expected to convene at Silver Springs Hotel, Nairobi, to discuss thorny issues surrounding the process.
The meeting convened by the Centre of Multiparty Democracy (CMD) comes after heated debate arising from the Finance minister’s Budget that excluded funds for constitutional review.
But civil society leaders dismissed as ‘trivial’ those criticising the omission.
“What we need is a clear roadmap on how the process shall be handled because money is not a key issue,” said Mr Cyprian Nyamwamu, the chief executive officer of National Executive Council.
Nyamwamu regretted that Government officials were not reading from the same script regarding the procedure to be adopted.
He warned against a scheme by the Government and Parliament to hijack the process from the people and “only take it to them for a rubberstamp at the referendum”.
“Remember when a few members picked the Bomas Draft and emerged from Kilifi with a new draft, people revolted when it was presented at a referendum…we cannot afford to miss a new constitution when we finally go to a referendum again,” said Nyamwamu.
Sharing the same sentiments, CMD executive director Njeri Kabeberi said a proposal by the Serena team that a committee of seven members spearhead the drafting of a new constitution should be handled carefully.
“We need a people-driven conference that is representative of all sectors to negotiate the content of the Constitution,” she said.
Meanwhile, two MPs have called on the Government to speed up the constitutional review process.
Budalangi MP, Mr Ababu Namwamba, and his Ikolomani counterpart, Dr Bonny Khalwale, said the Government was dragging its feet over the matter.
“It is clear that some factions of the Government are not keen for the review process to commence yet as legislators, the Constitution is the ideal platform to address key issues that have impeded economic development,” said Khalwale.