Here’s something you don’t see every day: somebody comparing Burma’s constitution-drafting process to their own in a favorable light. Well, kind of. Here’s from Kenya’s Daily Nation:
Kenyan commentators and politicians also like to speak about how the nearly 20 years it has taken to get this far in the constitution making process is one of the longest in the world.
We checked, and it is not just “one of the longest”, but the longest. Until 2008, the record was held by Burma (Myanmar), which took 17 years to get its constitution.
If Kenya’s constitution is adopted, it will represent the longest deliberations over a constitution in world history. However, it hasn’t had a continuous national convention for the past 20 years, unlike in Myanmar. Furthermore, rumor in Rangoon claims Maung Maung started drafting Burma’s current constitution all the way back in 1988 or so – essentially, 20 years before the referendum in 2008. So, the title for longest constitution-drafting process is not yet clear.
The common explanations for why Kenya’s constitution review has taken so long are, first, lack of political will and, second, because it has a querulous multiparty system that no single group has been able to totally dominate in recent years.
However, Burma doesn’t have such “problems”. First, Senior General Than Shwe and his fellow officers are running one of the most repressive regimes in the world.