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WHEN SHOULD KENYA GO TO THE BALLOT..???

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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A push by MPs to have their term extended beyond the August 2012 date mandated in the new constitution continues to draw fire from various groups. The MPs, supported by Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo and the leaders of key parliamentary committees responsible for implementation of the new constitution, argue that the current Parliament is protected from the proposed legislative calendar and must serve out its full term to December 2012, five years after it was elected. Mr Kilonzo also come out to support a move by cabinet ministers to hold on to elected office in political parties in defiance of the new constitution. On the parliamentary term, some even argued that Parliament can extend its term to February 2013, five years after the current House was inaugurated. They vowed to mobilise Kenyans to resist such attempts by MPs and cabinet ministers, warning that attempts by MPs to prolong their stay in Parliament beyond the August 2012 date could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. Among those opposed to the move by the MPs are members of the Committee of Experts who drafted the new constitution, the Law Society of Kenya, and various church leaders. According to Dr Ekuru Aukot, who was director of the Committee of Experts that wrote that new constitution, MPs have no grounds to argue that they must serve out the full five years. He accused them of engaging in “selective” interpretation of the law. Dr Aukot told the Daily Nation that the August 2012 date for the next elections is a constitutional requirement that cannot be ignored by Parliament. “If we didn’t want to comply fully with the new Constitution, what then are we trying to implement?” Dr Aukot asked the MPs. The Law Society of Kenya also reacted, warning that any attempts to circumvent the August 2102 date may negatively affect future elections in the country.

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