U.S. pledges assistance if new law passed in Kenya

07:50, July 09, 2010      

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The United States has promised to help Kenya enact more than 70 legislation during the implementation of the new constitution and thus help clear some of the fears Kenyans have regarding the new law.

The legislation will be required to be enacted if the proposed new constitution that is currently under debate is approved in the referendum to be held on August 4.

Three visiting U.S.congressmen, House Democracy Partnership chairman David Price and Congressmen Donald Payne and David Dreier, told a news conference at the end of their visit to Kenya that the forthcoming plebiscite would be Kenya's remarkable opportunity to have a new constitution.

"This is a responsibility for Kenyans and we are all hopeful that with a new constitution in place parliamentary practice will be further deepened," Payne told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday.

The three Congressmen said their House of Representative will give technical and share knowledge on passage of the laws whose implementation they said will be critical "The challenges are going to be more after the referendum. The Members of Parliament will have a lot of work to do. We will be helpful in the process," said Price who was part of eight-member delegation of Congressmen on a tour of the east African nation.

Kenya's constitution goes back to its independence in 1963, and it has been criticized for creating an imperial-like presidency with dangerously sweeping powers.

The proposed constitution significantly trims those powers and enhances individual rights.

The main objections to the new constitution are the perception that it is softer on abortion. The new constitution keeps it illegal and defines life as beginning at conception but allows abortion under certain circumstances. It recognizes traditional Islamic courts for family law and inheritance matters.

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