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INTERNATIONAL HELP FOR KENYAS NEW LAWS.

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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Lawyers have clashed over the Government’s appeal for international assistance to draft requisite Bills to implement the new Constitution. The ‘learned friends’ differed at a public forum on the need to have foreigners help in drafting the Bills. On Thursday, the Law Society of Kenya Chief Executive Apollo Mboya sparked the controversy when he opposed the call for foreign drafters, saying there are adequate local experts. Mr Mboya said there was no shortage of drafters, adding professionals had quit the State Law Office because of poor pay, yet the Government was willing to pay hefty fees to foreigners. "We must draft the laws with people who understand the environment in which reforms are being pushed. The question is not availability of drafters, but resources that are provided," he said. The lawyer, who was among the panellists discussing judicial reforms, claimed the Government wanted foreigners in its payroll because they would play ball. Big salaries "The issue of drafters coming from outside to be paid big salaries is to ensure they dance to the whims of the Executive," he claimed. But human rights lawyer Betty Murungi, who chaired the session organised by the Society for International Development, disagreed with him. Ms Murungi, a former Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission vice-chairperson, said the Government had the right to seek foreign experts who would draft laws in "simpler language". "Our colleagues are still stuck with complicated legal jargon and I agree there is need to simplify drafting of legislation," she said. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga appealed to the international community for help with foreign experts, who he said would fill the gap caused by the shortage of experienced drafters. The PM made the appeal after holding talks with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at his Nairobi office.

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