, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – A group of former lawmakers has urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to crack the whip on politicians engaging in early campaigns.
Led by ex-Gatanga lawmaker Kimani Njuguna, under the Former Parliamentarians Association (FOPA) on Thursday expressed concern over high-octane politicking on the 2022 presidential election saying the debate could disrupt the government’s development blueprint.
FOPA urged focus on the Big Four development agenda of food security, enhanced manufacturing, affordable housing and universal healthcare.
“Elections are over and we support the President Uhuru Kenyatta in his call and focus on development,” the chairperson of the forum told the press.
“We condemn the continued pointless succession politics because the law is very clear on the period and timeline for campaign activities,” he said.
The forum with in excess of 600 members also voiced support for the unity initiative being spearheaded by President Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.
The former legislators welcomed a proposal to review the structure of the national executive with a view of promoting inclusivity and cohesion saying a common position will soon be adopted.
“The President has hinted in the recent past on his wish that the 2010 Constitution should be relooked at with possible amendments to create an inclusive governance structure that would deliver a cohesive society,” former Taita Taveta Woman Representative indicated.
“We support this initiative and we are working on our FOPA position which we shall be launching soon,” she said.
Speaking to Capital FM News separately, former Gachoka constituency representative Mutava Musyimi said the forum was currently considering views from its membership before presenting a common position to the Building Bridges Initiative Taskforce whose one-year mandate lapses in March.
He said the caucus was open to the proposal to have a more inclusive national executive but was weary of a bloated governance structure.
“In principal, among other things give our experience, we also want a government that is that is effective and that is not burdensome to the taxpayer,” Musyimi explained.
Musyimi noted that constitutional reform would consolidate gains made since the adoption of the current constitution in 2010.
“Any structure will work so long as the people believe in it so let us work with what Kenyans believe in,” he said.
“I don’t think we are expecting an amendment that would make the document perfect but what we want is a process that includes people so that they believe in the document that is proposed,” he added.
The comments by FOPA members came amid heightened political rhetoric that has threatened the stability of the ruling Jubilee Party.
Members of the party have in the recent past accused Odinga and legislators allied to him of attempting stocking tension in Jubilee after ex-Vice Chairperson David Murathe denied the existence of a succession plan that would have Kenyatta back Deputy President William Ruto for presidency in 2022.
Murathe who resigned after sparking anger in the party especially from leaders allied to Ruto has since said he’d move to the Supreme Court to block Ruto from vying for the apex position in 2010.
Although Murathe anchors his argument on Article 148 (8) which bars an individual from holding the Executive Office of the Deputy President for more than two terms (ten years), the law does not prevent the holder of the office from seeking the presidency upon serving for two terms.
Responding to Murathe, DP Ruto on Thursday last week said no one will be given a direct endorsement in the ruling party.
“We need to be very clear. No one owes another anything. When the time comes, Jubilee Party will hold primaries for all positions including presidential nominee and we shall all meet in the ballot,” the DP remarked when met a section of leaders at his Sugoi home in Eldoret.
“Let’s all Jubilee members, including those who want to join us, get ready. We shall all submit ourselves to primaries and whoever losses should accept defeat. I’ll support whoever defeats me in a democratic primary process the same way I expect those who lose to me to support me,” he said.
Chaos in Jubilee further escalated after Gatundu South lawmaker Moses Kuria accused Kenyatta of neglecting his home turf – central region – following his March 9 (2018) handshake with Odinga.
Kuria has since retracted and apologized to Kenyatta whose home constituency he represents.