Thursday, November 19, 2009

Archbishop Okoth: "Debate Draft Constitution exhaustively"

The Catholic Church, through its Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) will undertake a countrywide civic education on the Harmonised Draft Constitution of November 2009.

During a Catholic Media Houses’ press briefing on November 18, 2009, a day after the Harmonized draft was released for public debate, the Bishop Chairman for the CJPC, Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth said this was to enable Kenyans make informed choices.

“Justice and Peace Commission is committed to continuing to engage the Catholic Bishops, Clergy Religious, Laity, Dioceses, Deaneries, Parishes and Small Christian Communities in this process of Constitution making. We want a document that will establish an order based on truth, freedom, justice and the Common good of all Kenyans,” he said in his statement.

The Archbishop of Kisumu termed the window opportunity granted for the public to debate the draft as ‘too short’.
According to the time frame given by the committee of experts, the debate on the document is to go on for 30 days, beginning from the moment the draft was released to the public on November 17, 2009, after which the Committee of experts will take 21 days to put together the issues raised from the debate, before submitting the same to the August house for Parliamentary debate.

“Because of the timeframe, we shall do what we can within the capability of CJPC,” said Archbishop Okoth, “we want the debate on this harmonized draft constitution to go on exhaustively.”

The Archbishop said the Bishops conference would be meeting soon to ‘understand the draft better’, and only after then will the bishops give their common input on the document.

Terming the time for new constitution as ‘Now’, Archbishop Okoth urged for sober discussion on the document. “Let us have a constitution that will serve us and the future generations,” he said.

On the public debate he said: “The ball is now in our court as citizens and we urge all Christians to engage with process. We should read the document, discuss and share it. By knowing what is in the document we empower ourselves to make enlightened decisions. We should also take up the responsibility of empowering others to make informed choices.”

“We want a document that will establish an order based on truth, freedom, justice and the Common good of all Kenyans.”

He applauded the efforts by the committee of experts ‘to ensure that we are informed and can participate in the process of constitution making.

“It is a positive sign that brings us closer to the dream of a new constitutional dispensation for Kenya. We would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate the Committee of Experts and their efforts,” he said.

Despite what Nzamba Kitonga, the chairperson of Committee of Experts that was made up of experts from within and without Kenya termed as ‘numerous challenges’ during the launch of the Harmonized Draft Constitution at the Kenya International Conference Centre (KICC) on November 17, 2009, it took 9 laborious months to come up with the document.

The draft was published through the media on November 18, 2009, and is currently within the public domain for debate.

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1 comment:

  1. Loopholes in the Draft Constitution
    The Constitutional Court

    1. The European Court of Justice is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law. It is tasked with interpreting EU law and ensuring its equal application across all EU member states. The Court was established in 1952.

    2. Recently, there has been a case where a woman has filled a case for all the Crucifixes in Italian Public Schools to be removed. The Women argued the Crucifix of Jesus was offensive to her child. Italy is appealing.

    3. In the case of Kenya, is the Constitutional Court that is being formed likely to serve the interest of ‘Human Rights’ and place Kenya in a similar position like Italy. Children in the West are never disciplined in the name of human rights.

    4. When Italy joined the EU, they did not know the repercussions. Now they know after 52 years.

    5. This Constitutional court will have some judges from the Commonwealth and some Kenyans and a woman.

    6. Some clauses on Human Rights which are vague on the draft constitution particularly the ones relating to ‘Life’ and human freedom can easily be challenged in future in the Constitutional Court and the Judges (some foreigners) may overrule in favour of the plaintiff and legalise abortion, same sex marriage, ‘mercy’ killing etc as it has happed in many parts of the West.

    7. Fifty years from today, our Constitution will also be challenged by someone who will be sponsored to have the same sex marriage incorporated. I am looking at 50 years from now as in the case of Italy.

    8. I can foresee the East African Community or The Africa Community being formed with a common Constitutional Court (linked secretly to the EU Court of Justice or any other foreign power) in the near future where the states will be governed together with a close link to what the West has legalised.

    In conclusion, since we are have a chance to air our views before the referendum and then vote (the people in the West may not have been given), these loopholes particularly on ‘human rights’ should be sealed because any ‘opening’ left will be taken to the Constitutional Court and will be challenged as in the case of Italy.

    May Our Lord Jesus Christ obtain for us The Divine Mercy of God which He promised us via St. Faustina. We have to do our part and Jesus the silent observer will do the rest.

    Rosemary, Kenyan Citizen, UK


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