13-12-2020 by redazione
"'The time is ripe for a constitutional referendum'.
These words resounded yesterday, Saturday 12 December, at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi during the presidential address
on the occasion of the 57th Jamhuri Day, Kenya's Independence Day.
Uhuru Kenyatta's speech was almost entirely about the so-called BBI, the inter-parliamentary initiative to bring Kenya to stability through a process of peace and shared governance, even though the few remaining in opposition and civil rights activists see it as a way to somehow stay in the saddle after his two terms in office prevented him from remaining head of government. With an elected president and prime minister, the matter would be resolved. Just as happened in 2008, to pacify the country undermined by ethnic feuds and power struggles. Vice President William Ruto himself, the first "victim" of the handshake between the majority and the opposition, has asked the government to analyse well what the country's priorities are, before thinking about a referendum. The economy, health and education come first," he said, "because they are the sectors most affected by the pandemic".
Kenyatta announced that some 14 million children would return to school on 4 January.
Kenyatta, however, insists on the stability of the country, which he believes is fundamental to any future initiative, and in the run-up to the polls, as is the case with every electoral round, thought must be given to national security.
"If change is indeed inevitable at set intervals, how do we read the moments that call for change? - asked the President - the need to change the law is directly proportional to the national instability experienced every five years. So here we are approaching a new constitutional frontier, not to get trapped in models that do not work.
Kenyatta reiterated the proposal of the referendum to create more inclusiveness and not reduce the challenge for leadership to a battle between only two representatives of as many ethnic groups.
The proposal is to have a president, his deputy, a prime minister and two deputies. Five politicians who can worthily represent the various components of Kenya.
"If this worked when Koffi Annan proposed it in February 2018," Kenyatta added, "it means something was right.
Among other reforms that will be put to a popular vote is the participation of women in the Senate, which must be half.
If 50 per cent of the Senate is made up of women," he said, "their contribution to a system of decisive devolution will be felt, because half of the Senate's decisions will come from them".
Conference in Nairobi on Constitutional Referendum organized in collaboration with No Gags for Journalism Studies Center.
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