, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 14 – Two former commissioners of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) have called on the government not to turn a blind eye on the secession debate fronted by a section of leaders in the country.
Kamau Waiganjo and University of Nairobi Professor Peter Wanyande who were responding to Homa Bay Town Member of Parliament Peter Kaluma draft bill on secession, say that the discussion on splitting the country into two should be addressed without delay for the sake of peace and stability in the country.
The two have said that it is imperative for the government to address the secession debate in the country before it gets out of hand.
Waiganjo who has faulted Kaluma for the bill says that the lawmaker will find it difficult in pushing his agenda in Parliament but contends that triggers for such talks should not be ignored.
“For Kaluma’s bill to sail through in Parliament it has to meet a certain threshold and I am more than convinced that Kaluma will find a challenge in meeting that threshold. Nonetheless, issues of inclusion and a section of leaders and their supporters feeling left out in national matters should be addressed,” said Waiganjo.
Talks of secession were reignited in the country when Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi called for secession of the Coast region but it is Kaluma’s bill which has elevated the secession debate to another level.
Part of the reason that inspired the drafting of the bill by the Homa Bay Town lawmaker is that Kaluma feels like the successive governments have violated the national values and principles of governance and instead entrenched ethnic discrimination and exclusion, inequality and injustice in public service and in the distribution of the national resources.
Kaluma wants 40 out of the 47 counties with the exclusion of Mt Kenya counties of Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, and Tharaka-Nithi to secede and form the People’s Republic of Kenya
Even so, Waiganjo holds that the discussion on secession is a premature argument which should be shelved at the moment and instead allow room for dialogue between those aggrieved and the government.
“I do not think the way to go is to do another surgery to the constitution that we passed, I believe there are ways in which the fundamental issues raised by Kaluma can be addressed,” said Kaluma.
Wanyande on the other hand believes that it is incumbent upon the government to accommodate the concerns raised by those championing for division in the country for the betterment of posterity.
“When a large number of people in a country are concerned about the manner in which the country is being governed I think it is the responsibility of those in charge of running the county to listen because that is what democracy is all about. Democracy is all about toleration and inclusion of the people in issues of national interest.
“The moment those in charge neglect or discriminate a certain group of people then the country risks having such talks and a full blown crisis,” said Wanyande.
According to article 188 (1) of the Constitution, the boundaries of a county may be altered only by a resolution: recommended by an independent commission set up for that purpose by Parliament and passed by the National Assembly, with the support of at least two thirds of all the members of the Assembly and the Senate, with the support of at least two thirds of all the county delegations.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has already given Kaluma the go ahead to proceed with his bill which he can either do it through parliament or by collecting one million signatures from the members of the public.