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The Stalled Constitutional Review Process

The Stalled Constitutional Review Process
Message of the Kenya Catholic Bishops
8 June 1999

We view with utter surprise and dismay the new proposal by the Government that the effect that the Constitutional Review Process be returned to Parliament. It is needless to say that Kenyans have waited patiently for the Government to provide an atmosphere of people-driven reform process, as it should be. This has not came to happen, even after spending a whole year agreeing on the structure.

The so called stalemate is KANU driven, as has been seen where the agreement to share the 13 seats according to the Presidential votes, and according to Safari Park Hotel agreement, has not been honoured by the ruling party. To refer the matter back to Parliament is to manipulate the process rather blatantly. Kenyans are in the first place not too sure of Parliament's independence, and neither do they want to surrender individual sovereignty to a few Kenyans called Parliamentarians. Sections of Parliament have also said that they do not want to review the document themselves.

We wish to remind those opposed to a people's Constitutional review process that the Constitution itself is a contract between the rulers and the ruled. We are having a strange proposal indeed, where the rulers want to determine how they want to rule. This is unacceptable to the Catholic Church and to all the People of goodwill and to all democratic voices in Kenya and in the world.

While we do not condone violence and do not expect violent reactions from any side, the Church cannot sit down and watch the whole country held ransom by a small clique of leaders.

Rt. Rev. John Njue
Chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference