BY DAILY NATION FRIDAY
Parliament was turned into a battlefield on the proposed Constitution as the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ teams traded accusations.
Kenya spy agency on the spot over illegal edit
The bone of contention Thursday was the controversy surrounding the insertion of the words ‘national security’ to limit the fundamental rights of Kenyans in one of the two documents published by the Government Printer.
At separate news conferences, the MPs engaged in a back-and-forth over the motive behind the insertion of the clause. But they agreed on one thing: that the culprits have to be apprehended and punished.
The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review threw the first stone with an assurance that “there was only one proposed Constitution, the one passed by Parliament and published by the Attorney General.”
“Anything else is not the proposed Constitution,” said the PSC chairman, Mr Abdikadir Mohammed who was flanked by his deputy Ababu Namwamba.
“There’s no doubt as to what document Kenyans will be voting for in the referendum,” added Mr Abdikadir saying that it was easy to confirm the authenticity of the copies in circulation given that Parliament has a copy of what was passed on for publication.
The PSC, the two said, had a copy and had prior to last week’s publication of the proposed law, gone through the proposed document and was “fully satisfied with it.”
However, the PSC’s leadership denied ever being approached by the spy agency –the National Security Intelligence Service– to insert the clause. Mr Namwamba said that even though the spy agency had not approached the team in its meetings, the issue had come up in their discussions and was not changed.
“We can’t say that there won’t be any more attempts to subvert the process, because we know there are people out there who don’t want the country to have a new Constitution,” said Mr Namwamba.
As they left the news conference, MPs of the parliamentary reform caucus, an informal grouping of MPs pushing for the new law came in and accused the ‘No’ camp of being behind the insertion of the clause.
The caucus led by Garsen MP Danson Mungatana (Narc-Kenya) demanded that Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo comes out and tells the truth behind the controversial clause.
The caucus MPs present at the briefing apart from Mr Mungatana were: Margaret Kamar (Eldoret East, ODM), Olago Aluoch (Kisumu Town West, ODM), Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes, PNU) and Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani, New Ford Kenya).
“The insertion of (those two words in) that clause wasn’t an accident. They (anti-reform forces) were trying to create an artificial glitch for this matter to reach the courts and be stopped,” said Mr Mungatana.
The caucus said the ‘No’ camp had “poured lots of money” in the campaign to defeat the proposed law at the referendum. Thus, it vowed to marshal support for the ‘Yes’ vote to ensure the proposed law is passed.