Lobbyists hold demo to protest law changes
Posted Monday, June 25 2012 at 14:18
Members of the civil society on Monday staged a demonstration to Parliament and the Office of the President to protest recent controversial amendments.
The activists submitted a petition to the National Assembly and the President's Harambee house office in which they condemned members of Parliament for making amendments to favour themselves.
“The various amendments tabled in the statute (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2012 out rightly breach the letter, purpose and spirit of the Constitution” said Atsango Chesoni, Executive Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
The petition opposes amendments to the Political Parties Act, which if approved, will allow persons standing for elective office to change parties severally up until two months to the date of the general election.
“We cannot allow for party hopping. There is need for discipline in parties to uphold proper democracy,” said Morris Odhiambo, president of the National Civil Society Congress.
They further condemned amendments to the Elections Act which proposes nomination of presidential losers to Parliament.
Njenga Saitoti, representing the disabled, said the new constitution provides a place for them to be represented in nomination and it is unconstitutional for Parliament to try and take it away.
“We cannot prioritize political rejects, we were marginalized in the previous constitution. We ask the president to be on our side,” said Saitoti.
The petition also opposes an amendment to the Judges and Magistrates Act. The amendment seeks to transfer the vetting of judges and magistrates to the Judicial Services Commission.
According to the lobbyists, the amendment is against the principles of independent vetting of the judiciary envisioned in the constitution.
The lobbyists said Kenyans voted for the vetting of judges and magistrates to be done outside the judiciary to uphold its integrity.
The the demonstration was staged from the Professional center, to Parliament's gate and then to Harambee house.
The petition to the President was handed to the deputy secretary in the Office of the President.
“We cannot seat back and let our country be led into ruins by members of parliament who only want to serve their own interests,” said Mr Odhiambo.
“We will remain vigilant, we ask he president not to accent. I f he does we will go to court on the basis that the amendments are unconstitutional,” said Grace Maingi, representative of FIDA.