Let The People Decide On Constitution Amendments
FORD Asili, as Kenya’s premier multi party crusader and a key player in expanding the country’s democratic space, wishes to remind Kenyans of their power, so LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE on every constitutional amendment, comprehensive or otherwise motivated. Constitutions are not Lease holds or Freeholds that one can shape or ignore according to seasons. National constitutions are sacred, uniting and guiding principles of the people in the management of their state, and must never be changed based on whims of an individual or a group.
Note that the ongoing ‘Change the Constitution Clamour’ is a product arising from the rapprochement after the divisive 2017 elections. Some people somewhere, with ulterior motives have trained their binoculars on the next general elections and laying traps, positioning electoral snipers, and, shooting smoke screens in order to direct, confuse, and deceitfully convince ethnic chauvinists to selfishly change the constitution in order to favour them during and after the elections. That is short sightedness on the part of the leaders who in 2010 resisted every effort to amend the then draft to avoid future constitutional challenges as Kenya is witnessing today.
Just as we did to come up with the 2010 constitution, we need to look at it comprehensively not for the next general elections, but to right the wrongs for posterity, through another expert team to identify the 20% issues which the NO teams ceasingly cried against in the 2010 referendum campaign and propose settlement terms of those issues.
The country should appreciate the fact that, however good the Yusuf Haji team might be, it is not all inclusive given that the appointment, composition and gazettement was done by two players only and therefore assuming skewed status.
A constitution draft should be developed from the current constitution, addressing the 20% issues identified by the NO teams and be subjected to a constituent assembly for further review and consensus building. The assembly should reflect the face of Kenya, so that when it is done, then the draft goes to the people, the sovereigns through a referendum. That with all honesty and just consideration, cannot be done within a year and be ready for the next election. It is also an added burden on the country’s economy particularly this time in the Corona season which is invested with marauding thieves and con groups.
- FORD Asili recommends a two-year constitution amendment programme to comb the document and accommodate all sectors of our society other than just the political class.
- As the country has been struggling with the idea about which type of government system to settle for, presidential; parliamentary or, hybrid, the party commends that, the committee and the Constituent Assembly would give Kenyans ‘Three’ drafts: Presidential, Parliamentary and Hybrid from which to choose.
- The referendum question would be very simple indeed as the whole body of the drafts would be the same apart from the clause on the political system.
This way the country would avoid a Zero-Sum-Game, that of pushing one draft on the people with a future promise of mistrust and more constitutional amendments, and maybe, bitter and violent conflicts. We can address that potential nonsense NOW.
People Driven Constitution Amendments. Rather:
Let The People Decide!
Mtumishi, Njeru Kathangu