The constitution requires, implicitly if not explicitly, that parliament and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) work together to implement it. Particularly given that it is the CIC’s role to “monitor, facilitate and oversee the development of legislation and administrative procedures” required for the implementation of the constitution and it is Parliament’s job to enact such legislation.
Basically the CIC’s main task is the provision of policy and legislative guidance and oversight to parliament on the implementation of the new constitution. However the relationship between the CIC and Parliament has always been somewhat fraught. Maybe it’s the tension that exists between two institutions meant to work together but one institution wants to stay the same, while the other institution is a vehicle for change.
We’ve seen the CIC and Parliament butt heads over the watering down of the Leadership and Integrity Bill, the Implementation of the 2/3 gender principle, the date of the next election, Parliament’s passing of key constitutional bills without consulting the CIC and more recently on the issue of the MPs send off package. With a section of MPs querying the both the CIC’s function and the remuneration of commissioners of the CIC as well as other independent bodies.
Below is an excerpt from the CIC’s statement in response to the Parliamentarians statements on the pay of commissioners as a justification for their 2 billion shilling send off package:
“The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution is concerned by the pattern of unwarranted attacks on the Commission and on the person of its Chairperson by a section of parliamentarians on account of the CIC position on a number issues. The latest attack arose from CIC’s position the move by MPs to fix and increase their allowances in an unconstitutional manner. The conduct by MPs is unacceptable and must not be entertained by Kenyans…”
“We would like to reiterate our position that it is not the mandate of Parliament to determine their own remuneration. Their diversionary argument on amounts of money paid to the chairperson of the CIC or any other person is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from their unconstitutional actions. CIC remuneration was arrived at as is provided in law enacted by Parliament. The discussion on the salaries of all state officers in all offices is a legitimate discussion that must take place and is the core mandate of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission…”
“CIC wishes to remind the people of Kenya that all State officers, including MPs are not exempt from the rule of law and the Constitution is Supreme and binds all. In this respect any attempt by parliament to blackmail state organs by threatening not pass any laws unless MPs’ demands are met is both unconstitutional and an abuse of power…” (the full statement can be found on the CIC’s website here).
Parliament is currently on recess and is yet to respond to the Commission’s statement.