The reduction of the number of MPs and the abolition of woman representative and deputy governor positions are some of the proposals the Thirdway Alliance party is pushing through its ‘Punguza Mizigo’ campaign to amend the Constitution.
The electoral commission will conclude the review of data captured from 1.4 million Punguza Mizigo signatures in two weeks.
The party, led by city lawyer Dr Ekuru Aukot, submitted the signatures to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on February 21, 2019, supporting its draft bill that seeks to amend the Constitution.
The review of data comes after verification that started on May 28, 2019, at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) came to a close on June 26.
The verification was undertaken by IEBC’s Referendum Project Implementation Team (RPIT) that included 125 temporary clerks and 24 IEBC supervisors.
Though the process has been marred by delays, forcing the Thirdway Alliance to seek explanations, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has assured that all is well.
“The commission reiterates its commitment to conducting this process in a transparent and accountable manner within the legal and administrative provisions. It is estimated that the activities will be concluded by July 19, 2019,” Mr Chebukati says in a letter to Thirdway Alliance chairman Miruru Waweru.
“The RPIT and technical support team has now embarked on reviewing the data captured by the clerks for completeness, accuracy and validity before the same is verified against the register of voters,” he says.
Upon conclusion, the team will consolidate the final report and present to the management and commission plenary.
The party’s proposals are among the 16 areas in the Constitution earmarked for change.
The party is also proposing a seven-year term for president as opposed to the current situation where a president is entitled to a maximum of two terms of five years each.
The initiative is a culmination of 11 months of extensive public participation in 20 of the 47 counties.
The party focused on online campaigns that afforded about 22 million people who use social media, the majority of them registered voters, an easy opportunity of endorsing the referendum call.
According to a document in our possession, the party is targeting to strengthen Parliament and devolution, end gender imbalance, demystify the presidency, reduction of the public wage bill, enforcement of integrity and reduction on the cost of elections.
Although some, including ODM leader Raila Odinga, have called for the expansion of the executive to include the post of Prime Minister and his two deputies, Mr Aukot’s party instead wants the presidency to be demystified to address the culture of historical post-election violence, especially when the incumbent is defending the seat.
According to the Thirdway Alliance chairman Miruru Waweru, a one seven-year term presidency should be introduced.
Mr Waweru says the proposed one term will end the do-or-die politics and the trend where it is not easy for a sitting president to lose an election in Africa, save for a few cases.
“There is an established violence trend in all years where the incumbent seeks re-election. The violence can be traced to the incumbent and or to a rogue opposition determined to eject the incumbent from power,” Mr Waweru says.
He says that the violence in 1991/92, 1997, 2007 and 2017 was not a coincidence.
“It is clear that there was no violence in 2002 and 2013 and the only viable explanation is the absence of incumbent seeking re-election,” he says.
He also argues that sitting presidents tend to focus more on re-election rather than service delivery.
“Our political history and experience have shown that a first-term president wastes the last 2-3 years focusing on re-election campaigns and or promises, which are often focused on individuals or a group of political friends.”