Is the Committee of Experts (COE) the custodians of new constitutional truth

The Committee of Experts (COE) is gearing up for civic education once the draft constitution is published by the Attorney General this Thursday. They have been quoted in various quarters that their main focus will be to deal with the "falsehoods", "misinformation" and "lies" that has dominated the country in the last month.

The COE is definitely advocating for a Yes vote in the coming referendum. Their main battle will be to counter the NO campaign that is led by church leaders and Ruto.

The COE is taking up the role of the judiciary in constitutional interpretation whereas we all know that once the draft is enacted, the COE mandate ends and it will be upon the judiciary and the legal fraternity to seesaw interpretations of various clauses in the constitution. The COE will not be called upon to say what they meant when they put up some words or phrases. The best they could have done is to include a definition of terms appendix as part of the constitution which they never did.

The COE should not dismiss any Kenyan's interpretation of the draft, however layman it is, as a lie, falsehood or misinformation. The only binding interpretation will be that of the judiciary once the draft is enacted. As much as they collated the views and harmonized the draft constitutions, they do not have a final say what the chapters, sections, clauses and words they chose mean. It is now beyond them and have no power to amend or have no responsibility to tell us what they meant if such words and phrases are not crystal clear and are subject to wild and weird interpretations by Kenyans.

The COE should restrict themselves to distributing the draft constitution as it is and should not add any materials purporting to interpret the draft, or hold talks, rallies or meetings to misinform Kenyans of any interpretation thereof. Any public forum by the COE should be to read the draft as is to the public. In any case such materials would not be admissible in a constitutional court once interpretations of the constitution are referred to the courts.

Once they make sure every Kenyan has a copy of the draft, let Kenyans read the draft and interpret for themselves how what they read applies to their situation and make decisions on how to vote thereof.


Bookmark the permalink.