Kill Bill: Constitutional Amendment Edition

Background: The Ministry of Justice is set to table an important Bill before Parliament. The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2011 proposes to amend two articles in Constitution. First, article 101 (1) which currently reads that General Elections will be held in the month of August of every fifth year. It is proposed that elections be held on the fifth year in the month of December. The second amendment is article 90 which currently doesn’t reflect the 1/3 minimum representation principle in article 27 in all elected and nominated positions in Parliament. The amendment proposes that after elections, the necessary number of seats be created for nomination of listed candidates to ensure compliance with the 2/3 maximum gender principle.

Our Shameless August House Wants December Poll Date

As a follow-up to last week’s piece, I am once again concerned about the backward way in which we are purporting to create long-lasting institutions in this country. How does one claim to be creating a foundation for posterity when institutions are centred around individuals? Granted we cant change the fact that Mr. Isaak got his job back but it is unfortunate to hear him proclaim that it is not logistically possible to hold General Elections in August 2012, soon after his nomination was approved by Parliament. Did he do it to please his political backers? Was he saying it to give the IEBC more time to comfortably work towards preparing the country for Elections? Whatever the case, it is in extremely bad faith for him to openly advocate for a contravention of the Constitution not to mention the awkwardness of having the country’s Election Chief involving himself with the politics of the day.

Over to the AG. Frankly, I’m disappointed. It was hoped that Prof Muigai’s voice of reason and wisdom would prevail among those in Cabinet and Parliament, the likes of Justice Minister Kilonzo and others, who are hell-bent on amending the Constitution prematurely.

Furthermore, the AG seems to have been unsuccessful in getting Parliament and the Cabinet to allow the Judiciary to be the final arbiter on the matter of the 2012 election date. The growing opinion within Cabinet is that regardless of what Chief Justice Mutunga and the Supreme Court say about the exact date for the 2012 General Elections, Kilonzo and company will still table the Constitutional Amendment Bill before Parliament and put it to a National Referendum.

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