Stop the ‘careless talk’ on presidential term limit

An issue that generates a lot of emotion among politicians and ordinary Kenyans is the talk about the possibility of removing the presidential term limit.

This constitutional provision enjoys overwhelming support among the leaders and other players in the different political formations.

The entrenching in the supreme law the maximum two five-year terms for the president and the governors is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of the struggle for greater democratisation.

The duration is adequate for any leader to implement their vision and manifesto and pass on the baton to someone else.

It has worked so well after President Daniel arap Moi slogged out a whole 24 years at the helm of the nation. His successor, Mwai Kibaki, held the office from 2002 to 2013 and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta steered the country from then until 2022. It is, therefore, expected that, should President William Ruto be re-elected in 2027, it will be his second and final term.

The system has become a beacon of our democratic governance. All should respect the term limits. After all, there’s no shortage of good leaders if the people vote responsibly.

However, an MP and a businessman have ruffled feathers by suggesting that President Ruto needs to be in office for 25 years to realise his plans for the country. The reaction has been fast, furious and firm. The two have been accused of engaging in “careless talk with a sense of entitlement”.

The MP’s call for constitutional change to extend President Ruto’s tenure has brought back into focus the term limits debate. The two-term limit came into effect ahead of the 1992 General Election following the repeal of Section 2(A) of the old Constitution and restoration of multiparty rule after a bitter struggle.

The term limits have contributed to the vibrant democracy the country enjoys today. It enables the introduction of new ideas and leadership styles. Leadership is not about the love for an individual or amassing power and wealth but the passion and ability for public service. It is what some have described as “servant leadership”.