CORD opposes House petition to merge referendum drives

February 11, 2016 9:07 am
Opposition leaders are behind the Okoa Kenya referendum push. Photo FILE
Opposition leaders are behind the Okoa Kenya referendum push. Photo FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – A Kenyan has petitioned the National Assembly to come up with a Bill which will merge all the constitutional amendment proposals raised by different referendum drives such as Okoa Kenya, Pesa Mashinani and Boresha Kenya among others.

House Speaker Justin Muturi said Major (Rtd) Joel Kiprono Rop wants MPs to amend the Constitution through a Parliamentary Initiative instead of subjecting Kenyans to a potentially divisive referendum.

“The petitioner prays that the National Assembly undertakes to amend the Constitution while taking in considerations draft proposals from himself, Okoa Kenya, Pesa Mashinani, Tunza Katiba Boresha Kenya and Punguza Mzigo initiatives,” Muturi told the House.

In his petition, Rop who is a resident of Kericho County, is proposing amendments to Articles in the Constitution which deal with the establishment of the 47 counties – Article 6(3) – composition of the National Assembly and Senate (Articles 97 and 98).

He also wants the House to look into ownership of public and Community lands (Articles 62(3) and 63), electoral systems and process (Article 81) and basic requirements for political parties (Article 91).

“The prayers sought by the petitioner require thoughtful consideration as they propose to ultimately alter the architecture of our Constitution,” the House Speaker said as he directed the House Constitution Implementation Oversight  Committee to scrutinize the document and also invite Rop.

House Majority leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and Boresha Kenya Initiative convenor Asman Kamama (Tiaty MP) welcomed the idea saying it is economical and will help unite the country.

“We can deal with the small amendments through the parliamentary initiative then whatever remains then we decide on the referendum. I think this petitioner is also uniting all of us from different political views. Mr Speaker, through your office this petition should be given priority,” Duale said.

Kamama added: “We are going to save this country Sh30 million Mr Speaker. We all know what happened in 2005 (National referendum on the proposed Constitution also known as Wako Draft) that momentum that prevailed led to what experienced in 2008.”

Suba MP and ODM Chairman John Mbadi whose party is pushing the Okoa Kenya drive dismissed the petition saying it had been overtaken by events.

“For Okoa Kenya initiative the train has already left the station, I don’t think whatever the committee will do is going to help harmonise Okoa Kenya with other initiatives that have not even finished collection of signatures. Mr Speaker, our Constitution is very clear on how to amend the Constitution through Popular Initiative,” Mbadi stated.


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