President Kibaki Signs Constitutional Amendment Act into Law

Barely an hour after The Constitutional Amendment Bill No 1 of 2008 was passed by the Kenya Parliament, President Mwai Kibaki signed it into law. The same is expected of the fast tracked National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which was passed by Parliament in record time.

The two bills now formalize the grand coalition agreement between ODM and PNU affiliates.

The debate on the second bill unearthed deep seated emotions and suspicions that the two sides still harbour against each other.

William Ruto seconded the bill with calls for resettlement of IDPs and addressing the reasons why there are IDPs and tribal clashes whenever there is a contest. He reiterated that the bills are a means to an end and not an end in themselves. "We should not gross over these issues of historical injustices, tribalism, marginalization and issues of inequality that bring conflicts among Kenyans. We must close our past and close it appropriately. We must be ready to make hard decisions."

Mwangi Kiunjuri supported the motion saying quoting the bills that the two bills arose after the disputed Dec 07 presidential elections which brought to the fore deep seated emotions among Kenyans. He said that those who will have positions should not celebrate since "we are just out of the ICU and to the High Dependency Unit. You cannot send an ICU patient home to eat ghitheri". He said that MPs should embark immediately on the process of constitutional review and resettlement of IDPs reminding the MPs that the long rains are on the onset and conditions in the IDP camps are bound to deteriorate with the threat of communicable diseases becoming a reality.

He further said that even with a truth, justice and reconciliation commission in South Africa, Winnie Mandela, who fought against apartheid was still taken to court for her atrocities against humanity. The same should apply to leaders who contributed to the loss of lives of Kenyans. He said parliament should set aside funds to elect a monument of shame. Kiunjuri wondered why the bill did not address the incapacitation or bankruptcy of the prime minister and his deputies.

William Ole Ntimama attacks on Saitoti and Francis Muthaura was cut short by the deputy speaker. He had earlier said that the power sharing must be real and the bill was clear that power sharing must be on a 50 50 basis and any attempt to shortchange either partner in the coalition will be too bad. He reinforced Kibaki's call that all Kenyans should be free to live anywhere in the country and added that he should also be at liberty to settle in Meru where his grandparents came from.

Prof Anyang Nyong'o made the attorney general to commit to the interpretation of terms in the Act which usually precedes an Act of Parliament but were missing on the bill. Amos Wako, the AG, confirmed that the drafting committee did not find it necessary to change what had already signed by the principals and other friends of Kenya. He however said he was sure that the two principals were clear as to what they meant when they drafted the agreement.

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