Creative Commons

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Charting the path of reform in Kenya

The goal of the Annan led mediation is to initiate a conversation between Kenya’s political groups and provide a road map and consensus for institutional, legal and constitutional reforms. The broad aims of the mediation talks are:

1 cessation of ethnic violence restore fundamental rights and freedoms

2. humanitarian response and resettlement of internally displaced communities

3. mobilize political cooperation to achieve a national consensus on constitutional and institutional reform

4. constitute a process for truth, justice and inter-ethnic reconciliation

In the short-term, power sharing on an interim basis provides the most promising platform for mobilizing political and civic society support for constitutional and institutional reform.

Political power sharing must:

1. be based on clear aims and principles

a. time bound; interim

b. purely for political and legislative cooperation and not partisan political competition

c. Set the size and composition of interim cabinet to demonstrate commitment to equity and merit. Not more than 24 ministers should be named

2. enshrine the spirit and letter of the transition/interim government in a constitutional amendment

3. be enforceable and supervised by parliament

4. define and appropriate responsibility and the spirit of the interim coalition government

5. spell the legislative agenda and timetable for parliament to debate and enact legal, institutional and constitutional reform

Agenda for constitutional legal and institutional reform

  1. Electoral Commission reform
    1. Constitutional offices of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission

i. Fixed and secure of tenure for commissioners

ii. The chief executive (president or prime minister) to propose three names for Electoral Commission Chairman and Commissioners

iii. Appropriate parliamentary committee to conduct public hearings on the qualification, integrity and suitability of the nominees

    1. Role of electoral commission be expanded to include managing of primaries for civic, parliamentary and presidential primaries for political parties
  1. Parliamentary parties
    1. Stipulate number of political parties

i. Stipulate criteria for membership/leadership

ii. Publication of party constitutions/manifestos

1. adherence to internal democracy

2. regular elections and annual party conventions, financial audit

iii. rules for party funding and finances/assets/liabilities

iv. party secretariat

v. must have an presence in every district

  1. Devolution of power to local governments
    1. District assembly

i. Chief executive (direct election)

ii. Legislative mandate

iii. Budgets

iv. Revenue

v. District education boards

    1. Direct election of city mayors

i. Legislative mandate for city governments

ii. Budgetary autonomy and control for city governments

iii. Fund raising/direct foreign investment

iv. Taxes (VAT & income tax, MV authority)

v. Metropolitan police

vi. Education boards

vii. Housing board

viii. Metropolitan transport authority

ix. Recreation and environmental protection agency

  1. Parliamentary reform
    1. Autonomy of parliament

i. Business calendar

ii. No member of parliament shall, during the time for which he/she is elected, be appointed to any civil office

iii. MPs remuneration shall neither be increased nor diminished during the time in which they are in office

iv. Time bound legislative programme during each session

v. Bills must sent to the president must be returned within 10 days

vi. Power to impeach the President, Vice President and members of the cabinets

vii. Declaration of assets and liabilities at the start and end of MPs term

  1. The executive
    1. Conduct of presidential election
    2. Term of office
    3. Must garner 51% of votes cast
    4. Presidential running mate must be declared during the electioneering
    5. President elect and Inauguration (within 30-60 days)
    6. Petitions on the presidential vote must be filed, heard and determined within 21 days of the announcement of the winner
    7. Cabinet appointed from outside parliament
    8. Cabinet must be approved by parliament

i. Key cabinet positions must receive parliamentary approval

ii. finance, security, foreign affairs, attorney general

    1. Size and composition of the cabinet (stipulate number and size of government)
    2. The President, Vice President and the members of cabinet shall be removed from office, on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours
    3. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of parliament.
    4. Declaration of assets and liabilities at the start and end of MPs term

  1. Public Institutions
    1. Constitutional guidelines for public and private sector appointments

i. Merit

ii. Equity

iii. Gender

iv. Affirmative action for marginalized communities

    1. Heads of the Central Bank, high echelons of the military, Revenue Authority must receive parliamentary approval
    2. Creation of civil service board

i. Under the supervision of a parliamentary committee, the civil service board will supervise the civil service

    1. Code of conduct

i. Outlaw ownership of businesses by civil servants

ii. Conflict of interest

    1. Strong restrictions on the police and security intelligence to prohibit abuse by the executive

  1. Public finance and allocation of public resources
    1. Earmarks for public spending must be transparent, equitable and subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

i. These shall include roads, water supply, electrification, public hospitals

  1. Bill of rights
    1. Entrenchment, protection and enforcement of individual rights and freedoms and obligations of citizens

i. Especially, freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief.

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