News 2008


Another referendum on way

Daily Nation


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 Parliament.

“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 Mr Kilonzo.

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 Constitution.

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 all people.”

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.

Set up

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 disputed polls.

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 Kosgei.

The sessions will resume next Tuesday.