By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa
The promulgation of the new constitution is probably the coalition government’s greatest achievement. However actual implementation of the constitution, hasn’t all been plain sailing. The debate on how provisions of the constitution are to be realised seems to intensify at every stage implementation.
So far the negotiation on implementation of the constitution has occurred mostly between government organs e.g. parliament, the executive, commissions etc. Despite explicit constitutional provisions for public participation, the public has only been involved in a limited way in the constitution’s implementation.
That is part of the reason the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) Monitoring Project is so interesting. The project has surveyed 2000 Kenyans to find out their thoughts on constitutional implementation, electoral reforms, and the legacy of post election violence. The results of the survey have been released as part of a review report on the Progress in Implementation of the Constitution and Other reforms. The results of the survey are an interesting indicator of what everyday people think about the ongoing reforms.
- With regards to satisfaction with the progress made on implementing the constitution 52% of the survey respondents stated they were either very satisfied or satisfied, while 37% stated are either not satisfied or very dissatisfied.
- When asked whether they had observed any change in the country since the promulgation of the constitution 44% of the respondents stated they had witnessed no change at all, while 53% respondents replied that their had been change. The biggest change areas were identified as being the public vetting of office bearers, judicial reform, and checking of executive powers. Areas of low change were in delivery of public services, education, reduction in corruption, MPs paying taxes, and delivery of security.
- Survey participants identified the main roadblocks to implementation of the constitution as being divisions among politicians (65%), 2012 campaigns (19%), lack of resources (14%), and implementation of the 1/3 gender representation rule (7%). Interestingly according to the survey issues that one would think would be major impediments to constitutional implementation are not seen as such. According to the survey only 2% of respondents cited corruption among politicians, lack of commitment by government, and selfish interests among politicians as issues likely to impede implementation of the constitution.
Overall the survey finds the view of the public on the progress of constitutional implementation seems to be favourable, the report finds that the legal and institutional framework for implementation is in place and implementation is on track. The flip side is that the report also finds that though constitutional implementation is taking place, it is marked by legal and policy gaps, poor co-ordination between actors, vested interests, and poor drafting of legislation.