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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Radical change proposed for Kenya
Professor Yash Pal Ghai
The constitution writer has been running out of time
Kenya should have an executive prime minister.

This is one of the recommendations of the constitution review commission, which also include a two-chamber parliament and the power to impeach the president.

The new proposals were announced by the commission on Wednesday.

New Constitution
Executive prime minister
Two-chamber parliament
Impeachment of the president
Two deputy prime ministers
15-member cabinet
District and village councils

For the last two years, Kenya has been trying to change its constitution - but it has been running out of time before parliamentary and presidential elections, due by the end of this year.

Under the current constitution, President Daniel arap Moi, who has been in power for 24 years, cannot stand for re-election after completing his two five-year terms.

In a major departure from the current constitution, the draft report - released by the commission in Kenya's main coastal town of Mombasa - proposes that the prime minister be elected by the national assembly and drawn from the party with a majority of the popular vote nationwide.

Ministers would not be MPs

The commission also proposes that most of the executive powers will now be exercised by the prime minister, leaving the president to carry out special responsibilities including those described as national unity and safeguarding the constitution.

"Our proposals seek to make Kenya a good regional and global citizen, promoting peace, economic development and human rights and welfare," Prof Yash Pal Ghai, the chairman of the commission, told reporters.

"We have tried to produce the constitutional framework for a just and humane society -- to deal, among other objectives, with poverty and corruption."

President Daniel arap Moi
Moi cannot run for re-election but still dominates politics

The two chambers would be known as the National Assembly and the National Council.

The new constitution would also empower MPs to impeach a sitting president - this would require a two-thirds majority.

The draft report says that the cabinet would have a fixed number of 15 members. With the exception of the prime minister and the two deputy prime ministers, the ministers would come from outside parliament.

It also proposes the scrapping of the current local authorities and replacing them with provincial, district and village councils whose members would be elected directly by the people.

The Kenya Constitutional Review Commission was due to finish its work in October to allow general elections to be held before the end of 2002 under a new constitution.

It is, however, still unclear if the draft constitution can be debated and passed by parliament in time for elections in December.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Constitutional lawyer Prof.Kivutha Kibawana
"This is innovation and people want it because of past experience"
Kenyans choose a new president

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See also:

28 Mar 02 | Africa
18 Mar 02 | Africa
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26 Jul 01 | Country profiles
22 Feb 02 | Africa
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