(First published online 20/9/10)
The Constitution passed and it was promulgated with much fanfare but now we are in the hard part of actually getting it to work. It is unfortunate that Kenya does not have a culture of seeking excellence and getting things done and done right to the end. Our history is littered with glorious starts and not so glorious ends. Look at the radical surgery of the judiciary in 2002, the Michuki rules and all the Commissions of Inquiry that have been set up.
It is therefore not surprising that the Constitution is in danger of getting caught up in our collective inefficiency. Every day we are treated to roadside declarations by people of all shades – ministers, assistant ministers, civil servants, civil society members and lawyers – with their different skewered interpretation of the Constitution. It is a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth and too many drivers trying to drive the matatu!
Amidst the noise and nonsense it is only prudent for one to go back to the constitution and seek direction. The Committee of Experts envisioned this dilemma and put into place checks to aid in the transition and implementation of the Constitution. Reading the Sixth Schedule one gets a sense of order and timeliness that if followed would fully ensure that the Katiba is smoothly implemented. All the bodies needed are listed and time frames are also included.
I considered not boring you with the legal speak but it is imperative that I point out the two very important bodies that SHOULD have been be set up by now.
This is what the Constitution states verbatim:
Parliamentary Select Committee
There shall be a select committee of the National Assembly to be known as the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee which shall be responsible for overseeing the implementation of this Constitution and which, among other things –
(a) shall receive regular reports from the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution on the implementation of this Constitution including reports concerning—
(i) the preparation of the legislation required by this Constitution and any challenges in that regard;
(ii) the process of establishing the new commissions;
(iii) the process of establishing the infrastructure necessary for the proper operation of each county including progress on locating offices and assemblies and establishment and transfers of staff;
(iv) the devolution of powers and functions to the counties under the legislation contemplated in section 15 of this Schedule;and
(v) any impediments to the process of implementing this Constitution;
(b) coordinate with the Attorney-General, the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and relevant parliamentary committees to ensure the timely introduction and passage of the legislation required by this Constitution; and
(c) take appropriate action on the reports including addressing any problems in the implementation of this Constitution.
Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution
(1) There is established the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution.
(2) The Commission consists of—
(a) a chairperson; and
(b) eight other members.
(3) The members of the Commission shall—
(a) include persons with experience in public administration,human rights and government; and
(b) not include any person who served as a member of the Committee of Experts appointed under the Constitution of Kenya Review Act, 2008.
(4) Articles 248 to 254 apply to the Commission.
(5) After the Commission on Revenue Allocation has been established, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution shall send a notice of its meetings to that Commission, and a member of the Commission on Revenue Allocation shall be permitted to attend and participate in any such meeting, but shall not vote.
(6) The functions of the Commission shall be to—
(a) monitor, facilitate and oversee the development of legislation and administrative procedures required to implement this Constitution;
(b) co-ordinate with the Attorney-General and the Kenya Law Reform Commission in preparing, for tabling in Parliament, the legislation required to implement this Constitution;
(c) report regularly to the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee on—
(i) progress in the implementation of this Constitution; and
(ii) any impediments to its implementation; and
(d) work with each constitutional commission to ensure that the letter and spirit of this Constitution is respected.
(7) The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution shall stand dissolved five years after it is established or at the full implementation of this Constitution as determined by Parliament, whichever is sooner, but the National Assembly may, by resolution, extend its life.
It is human nature to try and push things to ones advantage and also to resist change. That is how I chose to look at the scramble for the counties and the rush to restructure the Provincial administration. Checks and balances are thus put to curb these human traits.
Therefore this should be the focus of our talk regarding the constitution. Forget the counties and governors and senators. Forget the Provincial Administration issue. We should be talking about establishment of these two key bodies which will then be the reference point regarding transition and implementation.
Our media is hungry for numbers and this is usually at the expense of hard factual news but we at Political Madness shall strive to inform you. It is my hope that the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution shall be constituted urgently and that when Parliament reopens on September 28 the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee shall be set up and it shall consist of young reform minded individuals.
Kenya is at a cross roads. We saw the good work done by the IIEC led by Mr. Issak Hassan and the good work done by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Legal Affairs led by Mr Abdulkadir Mohamed BUT we are also witnessing the slow and not so great work being done by the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission chaired by Hon. Ligale. There is the new crop of leaders who are ready and psyched to deliver results and there is the old crop of leaders who are in leadership for all the wrong reasons. It is my prayer that the two bodies shall be filled with reform minded individuals who are not shackled with baggage of tribe, retention of staus quo and corruption.
A wise man said, the race is not for the swift but for he who endures the most. Ladies and gentleman, we have a long way to go as a country in our reform journey but I believe we shall get there.
As usual remember, NI SISI, no one else shall make this country better; no one else shall reform our leadership and governance.
Are you playing your part?
GOD BLESS KENYA!