Legislators front for radical changes in the Constitution

Wednesday February 17 2016

Boresha Katiba team chairman Mr Asman Kamama. His group is campaigning for the reduction of the number of constituencies from 290 to 210 and abolishing the two thirds gender rule from the 2022 General Election. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Boresha Katiba team chairman Mr Asman Kamama. His group is campaigning for the reduction of the number of constituencies from 290 to 210 and abolishing the two thirds gender rule from the 2022 General Election. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NJAGI
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Jubilee MPs have proposed a constitutional amendment to reduce the number of counties from 47 to 10.

This is among the proposals the lawmakers want to alter 20 per cent of the Constitution. The changes can be done through the Kenya 2010 (Amendment) Bill and the plebiscite.

Other radical proposals by the Boresha Katiba team, which is chaired by Mr Asman Kamama (Tiaty), include reducing the number of constituencies from 290 to 210 and abolishing the two thirds gender rule from the 2022 General Election.

The lawmakers are also pushing for a seven-year term limit for Supreme Court judges, and capping the retirement age of all judges at 74. They are also seeking continuous vetting of judicial officers to weed out corruption.

Addressing journalists at Parliament yesterday, the MPs — who included Mr Kamama, and the Boresha Katiba convener Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurwe-ini) and member Humphrey Njuguna (Gatanga) — said the Bill to amend the Constitution was ready and would be tabled in Parliament soon.

Mr Kabando said the plan to include the referendum question in the 2017 General Election is aimed at saving costs that would otherwise have been incurred in a referendum.

PUSHING FOR CHANGES

“We have identified 20 per cent of the Constitution that Kenyans did not agree with during the 2010 referendum and we will put those changes in a single question during the elections in August 2017, where Kenyans would vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to Boresha Katiba,” said Mr Kabando.

Mr Kamama welcomed other teams that have been pushing for changes to the Constitution through several initiatives such as Cord’s Okoa Kenya; the Council of Governors’ Pesa Mashinani; and Punguza Mzigo, fronted by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.

The MPs said having the referendum question in the elections would give the majority of Kenyans an opportunity to vote for the changes, as opposed to holding a referendum, in which a high turnout cannot be guaranteed.

Mr Kamama said the plan to include the referendum question on the ballot would ensure the country is not polarised as happened in 2005 and 2010, as various groups either supported or opposed constitutional changes.