12 Reasons Why Kenya’s National Convention Executive Council Says YES

Kenya Constitution DraftThe National Convention Executive Council (NCEC) endorses the ratification of the Proposed Constitution by the people of Kenya at the Referendum. The Proposed constitution secures the Sovereignty of the People instead of the sovereignty of the government. It shall entrench the Supremacy of the Constitution instead of the supremacy of Parliament. The expanded Bill of rights shall finally secure the principle of the Indivisibility and inalienability of rights and freedoms. Kenyans now have the basis of building a democracy where the dignity of every citizen shall be the center piece of government policy. This shall fundamentally alter the basis of state policy and budgeting in Kenya and it shall greatly deal with inequalities that exist in Kenya today.

Popular Participation shall be secured with the enhanced platforms of people’s participation in governance including stronger political parties, better representation of the people and the avenues of legislation. Further, National Values and Goals have been articulated to offer the standards against which to regulate the behaviour of all citizens and public officials alike. It is difficult to understand how we have survived under the old constitution that we are about to get rid of!

The Separation of Powers between the Judiciary, the legislature and the executive shall ensure that rights are protected, justice delivered, opportunities and security enhanced for all Kenyans.

The introduction of vertical and horizontal Checks and Balances especially with the entrenchment of key constitutional commissions shall greatly give Kenyans value for money and check impunity and facilitate a new culture of governance under a more clean, lean, effective, accountable and responsive government because the sanctions for violations of the rules shall be severe. This is the secret to ensuring the upholding the rule of law. For example administrative units in Kenya could not have been increased in total disregard of the Provinces and Districts Act (1992) as we saw the Moi and Kibaki administration do.

The elaborate provision for the Diversity and Inclusivity of all Kenyans by recognizing our ethnic, regional, religious, gender and even intergenerational diversities is a major pillar towards building a more cohesive, united, tolerant, proud and peaceful nation.

The principle of Equity is the hall mark of this Proposed Constitution and NCEC encourages Kenyans to see the great opportunities that this new constitution shall present in unlocking the great opportunities and potential within the nation. The public finance and public service chapters of the PC shall enhance equity in a significant manner. The National revenue commission and the principles guiding budgeting shall offer Kenya a major platform for embracing the value of equity and justice. The needs of Kenyans shall be responded to in a meaningful manner.

The provision of the principle of Devolution is remarkable. Kenya shall now witness a vibrant nation in all the constituencies since resources have been significantly devolved and the creation of county governments with meaningful powers shall greatly enable every Kenyan to participate in creating a productive state and a fair socio-economic system. The fact that regions have not been provided is academic since it is not clear what has been missed now that Kenyans rejected the regions.

The vetting of all senior civil servants, the provision of cabinet ministers to be appointed from outside parliament and the securing of the independence of public services from excessive politicization shall greatly secure Public Service Neutrality and Professionalism which will lead to Kenya witnessing a more responsive and effective government. This is massive.

Equal Protection of and before the Law is the twelfth principle that NCEC expected this constitution to provide for. And yes with separation of powers and the elaborate entrenchment of the rule of law, the corrupt and rogue state shall become a thing of the past and indeed equal protection of and under the law shall become a reality.

NCEC has witnessed distortions and misinformation that has followed the COE draft passing through parliament. These are around ten areas.  Abortion, Kadhi’s courts, land, devolution, rights of armed servicemen, denial of counties to certain minority ethnic communities, the vetting of judges, the provincial administration, the role of the senate and argument that there are too many representatives and government. All these issues are managerial, administrative and of policy in nature. Please note that none of the arguments on these points offends any of the 12 principles set out above which are the basis of assessing the acceptability of a new constitution. Policy issues always have contentions along moral, ideological and sometimes political lines. Religious, ideological, political and individual interests are the reasons why these ten areas of the NO movement have emerged. They are not based on known principled foundations.

As the organization that organized the nation to embark on the agenda of reforms, reconstruction and reconciliation since 1996, we at NCEC  have the moral authority to call on all Kenyans to register as voters and to emphatically vote YES for the Proposed Constitution.

Finally we call upon all agencies to work with the Committee of Experts and the IIEC in carrying out effective civic and voter education to ensure a productive referendum so that Kenya shall sing Katiba Mpya, Maisha Mapya from all corners of our great nation.

For and on Behalf of the NCEC

Pheroze Nowrojee,

Convener and Spokesperson

and

Cyprian Orina Nyamwamu

General Secretary, NCEC

Panafricanist Policy and Governance Strategist

April 14, 2010

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