Plan to hijack review process good for Kenya

Reports from Naivasha show that the 26 MPs in the Parliamentary Select Committee plan to hijack the process from Kenyans by allowing parliament to pass and adopt the new constitution.

In other words, the MPs want Kenyans to sidestep the referendum and instead have parliament convert itself into a constituent assembly. There are many ways of adopting  a new constitution and using a referendum is just one of them.

This is however subject to the PSC, the Committee of Experts and Parliament reaching consensus on the new document.

My take is that this may be the best thing that may come from the two-week retreat in Naivasha in relation to the review process.  I do not see the reason why a third world country should use billions of shillings to conduct a use a referendum to pass the Constitution while this can be avoided.

I find the argument that Kenyans can only own the new Constitution if they take part in a referendum a fallacy. How many laws – perfect or otherwise – having been passed by MPs and we are comfortable with them.

The inclusion of the  provisions establishing the grand coalition government including the position of a PM did not need a referendum to be entrenched in the current constitution. The introduction of the Interim Independent Electoral COmmission and the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission into the constitution, too, did not need a referendum.

Kenyans, in my opinion have effectively participated in the review process and a referendum is just a waste of money and time. Further, history shows that Kenyans cannot go to a voting process and come out of it united unless they are against one force – like the Kanu regime in 2002.

Since the early 90s, Kenyans have presented views on how they want their constitution to look like. Even in the current process,  the public submitted over one million views to the experts during the months of November and December.

Mt belief that we can give parliament the benefit of doubt and allow it to give us the new constitution without put us at the risk of going at each other because of our differences.


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