Uhuru insists on referendum even as time lapses - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Uhuru insists on referendum even as time lapses


President Uhuru Kenyatta has insisted on amending the Constitution even as the widow of holding a referendum before the end of his term fast closes.

Speaking to France 24 during his tour of the European nation, Uhuru maintained he is not interested in a third term in office but amendments to the law that would guarantee an all inclusive government.

“My commitment is to this process. I want peace, stability and prosperity for Kenya. That is the gift I would wish to leave behind,” President Kenyatta said.

This even as the Referendum Bill 2019 lags in Parliament.

The Bill, which provides a road map on amending the supreme law through popular initiative. is in the second reading in the National Assembly.

It has been projected that once the Building Bridges Initiative final report is made public, it would take at least five months before Kenyans can go to the ballot to decide on the proposed constitutional amendments.

Even so, Uhuru said he wants to leave behind a system that will give Kenyans the feeling of inclusion, one that would not make any group feel left behind.

The President said he does not think Deputy President William Ruto is going against his plans for a constitutional amendment.

“My hope and prayer is that we will do this together to achieve the objective. It is my hope and prayer that Jubilee Party will work with me to achieve this dream as a people,” he said.

ODM leader Raila Odinga on his part has said the plebiscite must be conducted before the 2022 elections.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission boss Wafula Chebukati, on the other hand, has said a referendum would be held any time provided the process complies with law.

But Belgut MP Nelson Koech accused politicians pushing for a referendum of being selfish.

“There is no money for a referendum and we do not have a proper IEBC in place. We also do not have a referendum law,” he said.

Political analyst Kariuki Ngunjiri said it would be difficult to have a referendum before 2022 elections.

“The process is quite long. The BBI report is not yet out and Covid-19 has ravaged the economy. Kenyans also need ample time to interact with the document and with the economy being in a bad situation, priority may not be the referendum,” he said.

Ngunjiri added that it would be wise to hold the referendum together with the General Election.

“Then again, the BBI must be repackaged because the opinion of members of the public is that its sole purpose is to create positions for the political elite,” he stated.

Uhuru regretted that some people were of the view that his decision to work with the opposition was meant to edge out his deputy. “What we are trying to do is to bring people together and be in a position to have an election to chose leaders freely and then accepting the results,”added.

He added that he is not interested in extending his term or going for another elective position.

“I don't want to remain in power after 2022. I would wish to enjoy a holiday every summer in France,” he stated.

Speaking on August 26, a day before the country marked 10 years since the Constitution was promulgated, Uhuru said time had come to amend the supreme law. The President said the Constitution was adopted with the promise that it would be improved in future.

At least one million signatures of voters who are in support of the proposed changes need to be collected if the popular initiative route is taken. The signatures would then be submitted alongside a referendum Bill.

The commission would then be expected to submit the Bill to the 47 county assemblies once it verifies the signatures.

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