Mudavadi cautions against rush to amend Constitution
What you need to know:
- Mr Mudavadi said the message that is coming from the Building Bridges Initiative has nothing to do with a referendum.
- The ANC leader said that the only people who are pushing for a referendum are politicians.
- He said a referendum is a weighty issue that should involve everyone and not just the politicians.
- But ODM MPs stepped up their push for a referendum, saying it is inevitable.
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has cautioned Kenyans against rushing into a referendum to amend the Constitution, saying politicians are pushing for it out of selfish interests.
Speaking in Kisumu on Sunday, Mr Mudavadi said Kenyans must be careful about constitutional changes and only accept it after interrogating the referendum questions.
He said if it must be held, it must be proved beyond doubt that the referendum will bring about changes that benefit the common man.
“What the people are saying is that make sure this referendum is about the people. Don’t make this referendum look like it’s about political leaders sharing positions,” said the ANC leader.
Speaking after attending Sunday service at Citam Kisumu Church, Mr Mudavadi said contrary to demands by politicians, the message that is coming from the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has nothing to do with a referendum.
The ANC leader said that the only people who are pushing for a referendum are politicians.
“We should all be careful about that because we have not seen the report of the BBI so we don’t know what the contents are,” he said.
“The people who are talking a lot about the referendum are the politicians. Kenyans are raising concerns about corruption, about economic hardships, lack of employment for young people, good management of public resources… these are the people who are really on the ground,” he told journalists.
Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga have hinted at a referendum to amend the Constitution.
But Mr Mudavadi said a referendum is a weighty issue that should involve everyone and not just the politicians.
“[What] the ordinary man is [saying] is that this we should all be involved in formulating the questions because a referendum is about the whole nation. It is not about political leaders alone,” he stated.
Even as Mr Mudavadi expressed his reservations, ODM MPs stepped up their push for a referendum, saying it is inevitable.
The MPs took their calls for a constitutional referendum to their Nyanza home turf over the weekend where they stated that it is unavoidable and necessary.
Speaking in Homa Bay County on Sunday, the MPs cited an inclusive leadership, corruption, electoral malpractice, equitable resource distribution and violence as some of the areas in the Constitution that a national referendum will cure.
The leaders asked their supporters to support constitutional changes.
They insisted that Kenyans must participate in a referendum as a means of ending some of the vices affecting the county.
The legislators who included Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Tom Kajwang (Ruaraka) James Nyikal (Seme), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), Eve Obara (Kabondo Kasipul), Tom Odege (Nyatike), Peter Masra (Suna West), Ongondo Were (Kasipul) said a referendum will be based on findings of the BBI expected in September.
Others present were Siaya Woman Rep Christine Ombaka, Nyando MP Jared Okello and nominated MP Jackline Oduol.
And speaking in Bondo on Saturday, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo said the BBI will soon give its report and the indication is that there will be a referendum.
"Others have already decided they will oppose the referendum. As one who wrote the Constitution as part of the Committee of Experts, I can assure you there's a lot in there that needs to be changed for Kenya to progress," he said.
On Sunday, Mr Wandayi said a national referendum will be necessary to correct weaknesses in the Constitution.
"If there is anybody thinking they can stop the referendum, they are dreaming because the time to change the Constitution and look at [its] weaknesses has come," Mr Wandayi said.
The Ugunja MP asked Kenyans to support the findings of the BBI taskforce.
"Everyone was given an opportunity to present what they recommend to the taskforce. After the findings, nobody will have any other option apart from supporting its findings. Constitutional changes are inevitable," Mr Wandayi said.
The leaders were speaking at a prayer service at Full Gospel Glow Church in Ramba in Kabondo Kasipul Constituency.
Mr Kajwang argued that new changes in the referendum will promote education, good healthcare and youth employment.
The Ruaraka MP claimed that some parts of the country have been side-lined when it comes to development.
"We want a government where everyone benefits regardless of where you come from. We will go towards the right direction only if we support BBI,” Mr Kajwang said.
On his part, Mr Nyikal said BBI will end injustices witnessed in the country.
RIPE FOR CHANGES
He claimed that many innocent Kenyans have been victimised during political turmoil because of lack of proper structures to control security personnel.
At the same time, Ms Odhiambo and Ms Oabara said the county is ripe for changes that target the fight against corruption.
"Corruption is rampant in the county with politicians stealing billions of taxpayers’ money. We want changes that will criminalise people who do not have mercy on public funds," Ms Odhiambo said.
Her statements were supported by Ms Obara who said current leaders must leave a strong legacy.
The MP said constitutional changes will enable them give their electorates an opportunity to enjoy government resources.
"For a long time, Nyanza region has been side-lined in resource allocation. Constitutional change will enable everyone get an equal share of government funds thus promoting growth," Ms Obara said.