KISII, Kenya 0CT 20 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has emphasised the need to change the constitution, outlining the benefits it will have for future generations.
He said the current Constitution is to blame for lack of inclusivity in the country, citing the perennial violence experienced during and after elections.
“We spend almost two years after every election on conflicts,” he said, “and that is what we want to change by ensuring inclusivity for all communities.”
He appealed for a national conversation, to help everyone understand and critique the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which is set to be released this week.
“What we need is an honest national conversation about the moment for constitutional change,” he said, and dismissed claims by a section of leaders, including his Deputy William Ruto that BBI is all about creating positions for individuals.
“Constitutional change is not all about creating positions for anyone,” he said, “it is aimed at ensuring we no longer have the winner takes it all and loser goes home with nothing after elections.”
Informed government sources say the BBI report will be released on Wednesday, paving the way for a national referendum.
“The question of us versus them must come to an end. As we exercise our democratic rights it must never again be at the expense of our diversity. The cardinal principle must always be our unity in diversity,” Kenyatta said.
He acknowledged the gains from the 2010 Constitution but stressed on the need to have it changed.
“The 2010 Constitution gave us some remedies but did it resolve or entrench some zero-sum game where the winner takes all and the loser goes home with nothing,” he said, adding, “Our Country is staring at a constitutional moment and the National question goes back to the advent of our Multi-Party System for indeed it was after the re-introduction of political pluralism in 1992 that negative politics began to dominate. Now we need to ask ourselves as a people; how do we change this through a constitutional consensus?”
Opposition chief Raila Odinga who reignited the BBI conversation, declared “Reggae is Back”.
“For 56 years we have followed one direction but we are not seeing any results…so we need to look at what else is there that is missing, so that the project Kenyan can move forward as envisioned by our founding fathers of our nation,” he said.
“It is time to change how we do things,” Odinga said, “we had posed Reggae and the BBI conversation but we are now back.”
Odinga’s declaration sets the stage for an eventual referendum to change the Constitution.
Ruto, who also spoke at the celebrations, called for a national conversation on BBI that will involve all.
“My friend the former Prime Minister has told us about the Reggae, which is fine. But I guess we will have a robust national conversation that will bring everybody on board,” the DP said.