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Minister Rejects House Law Team

The Nation (Nairobi), 13 November 2000

Nairobi - An Assistant Minister has rejected the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, saying it was not representative of all the country's ethnic communities.

Mr. Jesse Maizs, of the Labour and Human Resource Development Ministry, asked all Kenyans to reject the team until the necessary adjustments were effected.

He claimed that communities like the Nandi were not fully represented in the review team. He suggested that the number of commissioners be raised from 15 to 42 and be drawn from every community in the country.

Mr. Maizs, also the Eldoret South MP, vowed to mobilise other Nandi MPs to reject the Prof Yash Pal Ghai-led commission if his community was not better represented.

He said the community would not participate in the review if "one of our sons is not a commissioner and if the group visits our areas we will not cooperate with it".

"We shall not allow our people to give their views to a commission on which we are not represented," warned Mr. Maizs.

Mr. Maizs argued that communities like the Luo, Kikuyu and Tugen were over-represented.

"To make it worse, Nandi, a major Kalenjin sub-tribe has nobody in the Commission while smaller groups like Tugens and Kipsigis are okay," Mr. Maizs said.

He told journalists in Uasin Gishu that it was wrong for Nandis to be excluded in the Commission while they had two representatives during the drawing up of the present Constitution at Lancaster House, UK.

Recalling that the current Constitution was drawn up 37 years ago, the minister expressed fear that the current effort could equally longs "if a fake Constitution was enacted now." "If it is professionals who should handle it (reform process), we believe every tribe now has a lawyer who can present the community's interests in the review process," Mr. Maizs said.

The sentiments were supported by another Kanu official, Mr. Daniel Ruto. He urged Nandi MPs to meet and discuss reasons behind the community's exclusion from the Commission.

Fifteen commissioners were appointed to the Commission by the parliamentary committee headed by National Development Party leader, Mr. Raila Odinga last week.

Seven provinces of the country's eight provinces will be represented by two commissioners. North-Eastern Province will on the other hand have one representative, Mr. Ahmed Issack Hassan, a law graduate of the University of Nairobi.

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