Address Made by KLRC Chairman, Mbage Ng'ang'a at the Fourth Annual Congress of the Constitutional Commissions and Independent Offices, Eldoret Kenya
“Theme: Promoting Constitutionalism: Walking towards a cohesive Kenya”
Topic: Status of Reforms in Kenya
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Kenya Law Reform Commission is indeed privileged to join you in this year's forum, the 4th annual congress of Constitutional Commissions and Independent offices. As you may have noted, the forum comes just after the 5th anniversary of the promulgation of our Constitution. It is worth noting that the theme of the Congress resonates well with the nature of the aspirations and national values espoused in the Constitution namely: Promoting Constitutionalism: Walking towards a cohesive Kenya.
Ladies and gentlemen, cohesiveness can only be achieved when there is equality, respect for diversity and the rule of law and the collective efforts towards the realization of much needed reforms for growth and development of our country. Your presence here is a testament of the commitment to maintain the culture of constitutionalism and the pace of already instituted reforms.
While we celebrate 5 years of post-promulgation, we must take stock of the current status of reforms in the ongoing implementation of the Constitution.
I wish to mention that the implementation of our Constitution is heavily premised on policy, legislative, institutional and administrative reforms. In the five year transition period; Kenya has witnessed a myriad of governance reforms across all sectors.
Some of the key milestones for a cohesive Kenya in our view are enumerated below.
Ladies and gentlemen, reforms in the electoral governance formed part of the key agenda that culminated in the National Accord in 2008 owing to the 2007/2008 post-election violence. To this end, several bills have been enacted to consolidate and strengthen the various laws on elections. These include: the Elections Bill, 2011 and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill, 2011. To facilitate efficiency in the management of elections, the Political Parties Bill, 2011 and the Campaign Financing Bill, 2011 were also enacted. We consequently held peaceful General elections in 2013 and many other by-elections after. It is our hope that this trend continues even in future elections.
In the conduct of the 2013 elections, there were lessons learnt which the IEBC, the Judiciary and other actors in the electoral process would like to be incorporated with suitable amendments to the Elections Act and the Political Parties Act. In this regard, the various stakeholders have suggested amendments which are in the process of being discussed by the relevant Parliamentary Departmental Committee.
Ladies and gentlemen, a transformative and effective judiciary called for instrumental reforms. We have also developed a number of far-reaching legislation which have since been enacted into law. These include: the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Bill, 2011, the Judicial Service Commission Bill, 2011, the Supreme Court Bill, 2011, the Environment and Land Court, Bill, 2011 and the Industrial Court Bill, 2011. Their ongoing implementation is impacting positively the dispensation of justice which gives all; the confidence that their disputes can be amicably resolved with impartiality, integrity, fairness and transparency.
Ladies and gentlemen, fair and effective discharge of security operations can forestall violence and foster peace. The National Task Force on Police Reforms and the Police Reforms Implementation Committee in which the Kenya Law Reform Commission was fully represented holds the record for preparing transformative Bills, namely: the National Police Service Bill; the Private Security Providers Industry Regulation Bill and the National Coroners Service Bill. The National Police Service, the National Police Service Commission Bill and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority Bill have all since been enacted. Once again, from lessons learnt during the implementation process, various amendments have been done on these legislations, mainly to rationalize the process and functions of the respective agencies.
Devolution and Devolved Governance
Ladies and gentlemen, we all recognize that the Constitution requires new laws to ensure that County Governments have adequate support to enable them to perform their functions and optimize service delivery. To operationalize the system of devolved Government a number of bills in whose preparation we all played a leading role such as the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011, County Governments Act 2011, the Inter-Governmental Relations Act 2011, the Transition to Devolved Government Act 2011, and the Public Finance Management Act, 2011 are now enacted into law. We are into the 3rd year of implementation of Devolutions. Again, we have lessons learnt in the implementation process which my regime values amendments to this legislation.
The KLRC has developed model country legislation to help the country develop legislation to implement their functions as contained in Part II of the 4th schedule.
One of the fundamental gains of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 is in the manner in which the public is required to participate in policy, law making and as well as other governance and reform processes. The public participation principle under Article 10 of the Constitution encourages transparent debates and participation by various stakeholders. Reform agencies now seek consensus, publish information on various platforms for wide access and receive comments and input from various stakeholders. This has tremendously changed the reform process to bottom up as opposed top down.
Ladies and gentlemen, while the Kenya Law Reform Commission has the mandate to review all the law of Kenya to ensure that it is modernized, relevant and harmonized with the Constitution; the development of legislation required to implement the Constitution has always been done in consultation with independent offices and constitutional commissions among other stakeholders.
As a commission we embraced the need for new institutions to facilitate implementation of much awaited reforms. Consequently, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Bill, 2010, which provided for the functions, powers, qualification of, and appointment procedure for members of this Commission was drafted and enacted in the same year. Other commissions that have since been created and are discharging their mandates include: the Teachers Service Commission, Public Service Commission, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Judicial Service Commission, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (formerly KACA), the National Equality and Gender Commission, the National Commission on Human Rights, The National Land Commission, and the Commission on Administration of Justice among others. The Independent Offices of the Auditor-General, Controller of Budget and Directorate of Public Prosecutions are also operational.
We thus report that the legislations required to be enacted as set out in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution among others were collaboratively developed with the relevant offices and stakeholders and completed in time.
While the expectations are still high, we must engender a progressive culture of constitutionalism and a need for all stakeholders to work together in nurturing the baby after helping midwife the transition.
This is the basis on which the Commission is currently undertaking a post-promulgation audit of all legislation to determine the challenges of implementations, gaps, overlaps and regulatory impact analysis amongst others which report will be shared with the people of Kenya and our stakeholders. It is hoped that the Post-Promulgation Audit Report will lay the foundation for effective review and reform of these laws so that, among other initiatives, we can live this year's theme: Promoting Constitutionalism: Walking towards a cohesive Kenya.
Chairperson Kenya Law Reform Commission