Some leaders have opposed plans to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), arguing that this route is unlikely to address the concerns of a majority of Kenyans.
The leaders, including constitutional law and governance scholars and some members of civil society, say the BBI process is not inclusive and that it is being driven by the political class rather that ‘Wanjiku’.
Speaking on Thursday during a live webinar hosted by the Uwazi consortium and Narc Kenya party, they said a constitution-making process should be all inclusive.
The meeting was addressed by Thirdway Alliance party leader Dr Ekuru Aukot, his Narc Kenya counterpart and former Justice minister Martha Karua (right), Dr Mshai Mwangola and Ms Jill Ghai, among others.
Whereas Dr Aukot, the brainchild of the Punguza Mizigo initiative, agreed there is a need to amend the Constitution, he insisted BBI is not the right vehicle to take on the drive.
Dr Aukot, a member of the defunct Committee of Experts (CoE) that birthed the 2010 Constitution, described the BBI as a “repetitive, unconstitutional, directionless and duplicitous” drive, noting that the initiative cannot solve the problems Kenyans are facing.
He pointed out that the BBI, an initiative of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, is only geared towards the 2022 succession.
Ms Karua pointed out that amending the Constitution either through the BBI or Punguza Mizigo is not the priority of Kenyans at the moment. “Most of the things being proposed, which BBI has not even laid bare for public scrutiny, have been addressed by the 2010 Constitution.”
“Furthermore, we cannot indulge in a constitution-making process at the moment when we are faced with a health crisis,” Ms Karua said.
Dr Mwangola and Ms Ghai said all Kenyans must stand up to be counted and take an active role in every aspect of the country’s initiatives.
“Time is over when we looked at our political servants to be the ones who drive the interest of this country. It is time we started getting engaged and make sure this Constitution serves every Kenyan,” Dr Mwangola said.
Ms Ghai underscored the need to ensure more money is sent to the grassroots to help uplift the living standards of ordinary Kenyans.