Another referendum on way
Story by BERNARD NAMUNANE
Publication Date: 3/5/2008
Kenyans will be treated to another referendum in 12 months on the
new constitution to govern the country.
The mediation team went a step further to establish three bodies
that will address long-term issues that led to the post-election
violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed.
These were among a raft of resolutions reached by the National
Dialogue and Reconciliation team as it concluded discussion on the
fourth item on the agenda.
In a statement at the end of the talks, chief mediator Oluyemi
Adeniji expressed delight at the progress of the talks, stating
that there were good signs for the coalition government that will
be cemented in Parliament next week.
His spokesman, Mr Nasser Ega-Musa said in the statement:
“Ambassador Adeniji said that he was delighted with the
considerable progress achieved by the two teams and noted that it
augurs well for future cooperation within a coalition Government.”
Spirit of unity
The meeting, he said, was marked by a spirit of cooperation and
warm comradeship as opposed to last week when members engaged in
heated exchanges before President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila
Odinga finally struck a deal.
Members of the National Dialogue and Reconciliation team Mutula
Kilonzo and William Ruto said they had concluded discussions on
the fourth item on the agenda and focus will soon turn to
“Item number four is done and we have signed the agreement. The
copies will be given to you (media) tomorrow by the chairman (Adeniji),”
said Mr Kilonzo, the Mbooni MP.
Stating that they had agreed on many issues, Mr Ruto said: “We
have finished agenda number four and we have asked the chairman to
speak to you (media) tomorrow.”
They said they had a greed on a referendum to cap the end of
Constitution review during which Kenyans will be asked to either
endorse or reject the new set of laws.
However, unlike in 2005, this time the two parties agreed on
putting place a referendum law that will guide the process as
required under Section 47 of the Constitution.
“We have recommended a referendum law and agreed on a statutory
mechanism for the referendum. It is important that Kenyans go to a
referendum within 12 months to endorse the new Constitution,” said
He concurred with Mr Ruto that all stakeholders will be involved
in the process in which they had set terms for collection,
collation of people’s views and the preparation of the
Said Mr Ruto, the Eldoret North MP: “For the first time, we will
have a referendum law that will guide the process including the
time lines and schedules. The Constitution must have the input of
He said all players will be given an opportunity to provide
Parliament with a road-map for the Constitution review.
However, he added the method is not likely to change from the 2005
system because “we do not need to re-invent a road map when a lot
of work has already been done in that area”.
The Constitution review is among the reforms which had been
identified by the mediation team, then chaired by former UN
secretary general Kofi Annan, as a prerequisite to the stability
of the country. Others were legal and institutional reforms.
Mr Adeniji named the three bodies that were set up as the Truth,
Justice and Reconciliation Commission (JTRC); the Commission of
Inquiry on Post-Election Violence; and the Independent Review
Committee on the 2007 elections.
“The parties have defined the parameters for the investigations,
how the Commissioners will be selected, the time-frame and the
general powers of these bodies,” he said.
The JTRC will look into the past injustices, including land
reforms and regional imbalances, and make recommendations that
will correct the past misdeeds. It will be made up of nine members
of which the PNU presented its names yesterday.
The commission of inquiry into the post-election violence will
probe the activities that led to the fightings, the contribution
by police and high profile persons who are alleged to have been
behind the militias.
The Independent Review Committee will investigate the claims of
elections flaws among them rigging, manipulating the presidential
votes and the role that the Electoral Commission played in the
The mediation team defined their terms of reference including
foreign experts on the independent review team to streamline the
operations of the ECK.
In attendance were PNU delegates Cabinet ministers Martha Karua,
Moses Wetangula, Sam Ongeri and Mr Kilonzo while ODM was
represented by MPs Musalia Mudavadi, Ruto, James Orengo and Sally
The sessions will resume next Tuesday.