Hopes for a new constitution in Kenya were high on November 17, as the country launched the harmonized draft that will be reviewed by the Kenyans in the next thirty days.
The draft proposes a ceremonial president and an executive prime minister with powers to appoint professionals to the cabinet unlike in the current scenario where all members of the cabinet are Members of Parliament. The draft is a culmination of over two decades of deliberations. This is the fourth draft since the 2002 when Kenyans had the Constitution of Kenya review commission (CKRC) draft, the Bomas Draft of 2004 and the Wako Draft of 2005. Among the issues that have been contentious are: the executive, legislation and devolution.
The launch was attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and the Chairman of the Constitution Committee of Experts (CoE), Nzamba Kitonga. Addressing the congregation, Odinga said the Kadhi Courts issue was not as contentious as some people had taken it. He urged Kenyans to be sober and considerate as they addressed the issue. Addressing a press conference after the launch, the Chairman of CoE, urged the Church to assist the committee to harmonize issues around the Kadhi Courts.
The Kadhi Courts have been quite “controversial” in the current constitution-making in the country.
Some Christians are of the opinion that the new constitution should do away with Kadhi Courts and that the State should remain secular. On the contrary, the Muslims hold that the Kadhi Courts should be upheld as the case has been in the history of this country.
“Our position on the issue-Kadhi Courts has not changed. We are still against its inclusion in the new constitution,” remarked a church minister during the launching of the constitution review exercise,
Kenyans have been presented with an opportunity to offer their suggestions in the next one month. “Let Kenyans offer constructive suggestions to build an acceptable constitution that will, have meaning for all of us,” says Odinga