What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga said a third tier of government would make devolution effective, arguing that some counties are not economically viable.
- The number of governors will reduce from 47 to 14 and the devolved parliaments to 14, according to the proposal.
- The Bomas draft had created 14 regions as the second tier and 73 districts as the third.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has stepped up the push for regional governments, a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta called for the amending of the Constitution.
And Mr Kenyatta’s statement on the eve of the 2010 Constitution’s 10th anniversary that “the moment to improve on it is now” sparked protests too.
Mr Odinga said a third tier of government – fourteen regional governments proposed in the Bomas Draft – would make devolution effective, arguing that some counties are not economically viable.
He fought off suggestions that his idea would only create jobs for politicians since it is popular with the more than 20 second term governors.
“Counties will merely be administrative units under the arrangement,” he told journalists at his Capitol Hill office on Thursday.
He said the regional governments would host the executive and legislative arms of the devolved units.
The number of governors will reduce from 47 to 14 and the devolved parliaments to 14, according to the proposal.
Created 14 regions
The Bomas draft had created 14 regions as the second tier and 73 districts as the third.
A regional government is to have executive and legislative authority while districts would have an executive headed by a governor and a council as the legislative arm.
The President on Wednesday said the makers of the Constitution termed it “a work in progress” and “we were made to adopt it with the promise that we will make it better”.
“Ten years after our progressive Constitution, the moment calls us to do better. Instead of a ceasefire document that enforces a zero-sum game in which the winner takes it all, the moment calls us to create a constitutional order that will long endure,” Mr Kenyatta said.
However, critics say changes sponsored by the Executive since 1963 have only been about political jobs and eroding the rights of citizens.
Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi said the current Constitution has served the country well, “but there are few problems attributed not to the Constitution but the elected and appointed leaders”.
“The Constitution is an inconvenience to the political class. The problem is not the chair but the person who occupies it. We cannot trust politicians with amending the Constitution two years to the General Election. The Constitution needs to be implemented,” Mr Havi said.
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, who is against any amendments, said the Constitution must be “faithfully” implemented.
“The government should put on hold plans to amend the Constitution and instead focus on reviving the economy. Why are we making Kenyans believe that changing the Constitution is the answer to our problems?” he asked in a Sunday TV interview.
Civil society groups say they will only support the amendments “only if the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report will address the gender equality question, separation of powers and having a non-costly Executive”.
“We reject any of the proposals in the BBI report that will appear to be retrogressive, especially those that undermine gender equality and the separation of powers,” Civil Societies Reference Group chairman Suba Churchill said on Thursday.
newsdesk @ke.nationmedia.com. Additional reporting by Steve Otieno