Kenya AG publishes draft constitution

Kenyan Attorney General Amos Wako [official profile] on Thursday published the country's draft constitution [text, PDF], which proposes more balance of power in the government. President Mwai Kibaki [official profile], Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka have all supported the proposed constitution [Daily Nation report] and have urged citizens to approve it in a public referendum to be held within 90 days. Despite the government leaders' widespread calls for cooperation and support, the proposed constitution still faces criticism, particularly from Kenyan religious figures who oppose [Daily Nation report] the draft's position on abortion, marriage, and divorce. The president's Cabinet members have encouraged the religious leaders to support the draft constitution and then pursue their goals through the political process [AP report] after the constitution is ratified.

Last month, the Kenyan Parliament [official website] unanimously approved [JURIST report] the draft constitution. The draft includes several significant checks on presidential authority, including a requirement that presidential appointees face parliamentary confirmation and the removal of presidential appointment of judges. Members of Parliament receiving Cabinet positions will also have to relinquish their legislative seats. The first draft of the constitution was unveiled [JURIST report] in November. The changes are intended to reduce the widespread injustice throughout the country, and specifically address issues that led to violence following the 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive].

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