The Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) is a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) working on democracy, governance, legal and human rights issues. It was founded in 1998 and is registered as a Charitable Trust. Even though it was founded by legal and human rights NGOs, CRECO’s membership has diversified over the years. Currently the coalition has CSOs working in different sectors but with a common aim of promoting constitutionalism and good governance in Kenya. As at December 2010, CRECO had a total membership of 25 CSOs.
CRECO began its work with country wide civic education targeted at citizens’ participation in Kenya’s constitution review process. The climax of this was in the design and implementation of the National Civic Education Program (NCEP I) in the period 2000-2002. NCEP I served as a platform for creating a new cadre of leadership in Kenya. The “Moi Must Go!” campaign, an initiative of the programme, was a major success. The massive triumph of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) in the 2002 general elections could be attributed to the campaign. The NARC Government promised to deliver a new constitution within 100 days of its coming to power. The promise was never fulfilled, as the government argued that the public wasn’t adequately consulted and involved in the constitution review process initiated by the 0utgoing government. A draft Constitution presented by the Government was rejected by citizens during the 21st November 2005 Constitutional Referendum.
In the years 2006 – 2007, CRECO was involved in NCEP II, a follow up program of NCEP I. The purpose of the program was to champion comprehensive governance reforms ahead of the 2007 elections. In this programme, CRECO had advocacy initiatives aimed at strengthening institutions that would guarantee free and fair elections in 2007. ,The reforms envisaged were not successful and the outcome was the chaos experienced during the 2007 elections. In the 2007 post-election violence period, CRECO together with other CSOs campaigned for the inclusion of the Agenda 4 reforms in the political negotiations. A key output of this advocacy was that the coalition partners agreed on comprehensive reforms and set up several commissions and timelines for a realisation of the same. Subsequently, the Independent Review Commission (IREC) and the Commission for the Investigation of the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) were set up. These commissions emphasized that the country had to have a new constitution as the basis for comprehensive reforms.
In a bid to ensure that Kenyans got a new people-driven constitution CRECO mobilised CSOs to create a national platform for advocacy on, and value addition to the Constitutional Review Process. This initiative which was dubbed the “Katiba Sasa” campaign was carried out for over one year and interfaced with the work of the Committee of Experts (CoE) – a committee that was tasked with harmonising the views of Kenyans on the constitution. During the 2010 referendum period, CRECO with other HIVOs funded partners, set up and rolled out a national ICT based monitoring platform – Uchaguzi – that monitored the referendum. On another front, CRECO together with six other partners under the auspices of Elections Observation Group (ELOG), carried out a comprehensive e-day observation of the voting process using the PVT methodology.
Approval of the new Constitution in the August 4, 2010 referendum was a milestone in CRECO’s quest for constitutionalism and good governance in Kenya. After the referendum, the Jukwaa La Katiba was initiated. The Jukwaa La Katiba platform was adopted during a National Civil Society Post-Referendum Conference held between the 15th and 18th of August in 2010. As the successor to the Katiba Sasa! Campaign, the Jukwaa La Katiba holds weekly Press Conferences and is the people’s platform for implementation of the Constitution. Jukwaa La Katiba‘s operations are run by the CRECO secretariat. Its objectives are:
- To ensure the faithful implementation of the Constitution.
- To mobilise Kenyans in defence of the Constitution.
- To provide a platform for Kenyans from diverse group to participate in the implementation of the constitution across the country.
- To improve the understanding of the constitution through civic and political education.
CRECO’s Strategic plan has now shifted focus and resources towards promoting implementation of the new constitution through advocacy, civic engagement, institutional strengthening and partnerships development.