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New Constitution Will Signal Country’s ‘Rebirth’, Says Kenyan Justice Minister

  • Peter Clottey

Kenya’s Constitution and Justice Minister said the country will be going through a rebirth after President Mwai Kibaki promulgates the newly adopted constitution Friday at Uhuru Park in the capital, Nairobi.

Attorney Mutula Kilonzo praised Kenyans for overwhelmingly voting for the new constitution which replaces the previous one that has been used for the last 20 years.

“It’s 46 years since independence and our constitution up to date was negotiated in London under the supervision of the British colonial administration. But, over the last 20 years, we have negotiated our own new constitution, which is a far reaching document with enormous bill of rights and governance improvements that will make this country shoot like a star,” he said.

President Kibaki is expected to promulgate the new law in compliance with the constitution of Kenya Review Act, 2008 and the constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act, 2008.

According to local media reports, President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, ministers, all Members of Parliament and senior Government officials are scheduled to take a fresh oath to uphold and protect the new constitution when it is published.

Constitution and Justice Minister Kilonzo expressed confidence in the new constitution.

“The fact of the matter is that the new constitution for Kenya is a self propelling process even if His Excellency President (Kibaki) and the Right Honorable Prime Minister (Odinga) do not promulgate it and put it into effect, today, it will still become the constitution of Kenya automatically on 5th of September 2010,” Minister Kilonzo said.

He also said the provisions were made to ensure that no politician or individual “hijacks” the implementation of the newly adopted constitution.

According to Kenya’s Interim Independent Electoral Commission, a majority of Kenyans approved the new law in the 4th August referendum, with the 'Yes' team garnering 6,092,593 votes, which is 66.9 percent, while the 'No' team was only able to manage about 2,795,059 votes or (30.1 percent ) of the total vote cast.

Justice Minister Kilonzo said Kenyans are excited about what the future holds after the promulgation of the new constitution.

“69 percent votes yes to replace not to amend, but to replace the retiring constitution that will be retiring this morning and its good riddance anyway because it brought serious problems for the country; corruption and even American companies divested out of Kenya and sold out their interests. There are only a few like General Motors who are still in the country.”

Meanwhile, several African heads of state and government as well as former leaders are reportedly scheduled to participate in Friday’s promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution.