The President’s party has rejected Thirdway Alliance’s Punguza Mizigo referendum bill and joined the opposition in rooting for the Building Bridges Initiative task force report.
Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju Tuesday told Nation that the party will only support a referendum backed by the views of Kenyans.
He said the party was fully behind the BBI which he noted was an initiative of the government.
“The BBI is an initiative of our party leader — President Uhuru Kenyatta — together with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and is even funded by the government.
“It’s a little bit stretching for us to have an initiative initiated by the government and our party leader and to be preoccupied in any way with a parallel initiative,” Mr Tuju said.
Meanwhile, a Deputy President William Ruto’s ally and a key member of the Tanga Tanga group has also thrown his weight behind the BBI in what could be the last straw on the Punguza Mizigo initiative.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale had a change of political heart and now supports constitutional reforms that will lead to change of the national executive structure.
In his road to Damascus moment, Mr Duale says the country should abandon the “divisive and explosive” presidential system for the Parliamentary system with an executive Prime Minister in charge of running the affairs of the government.
In an interview with the Nation Tuesday, Mr Duale strongly rooted for the Parliamentary system of government arguing that it was the only way to heal the deep ethnic divisions in the country and ensure equity and inclusivity as proposed by President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga in the March 9, 2018, handshake.
“It’s the Parliamentary system where the masses can access equity and inclusivity in terms of education, economic power and political power,” he said yesterday, promising to rally the pastoralist community in endorsing the referendum to change the constitution before the 2022 General Election.
Mr Tuju said the party cannot therefore in any way support the initiative by Dr Ekuru Aukot.
“The Punguza Mizigo initiative is their fish, let them fry it,” he said.
The Jubilee Party official pointed out that BBI was an inclusive initiative “which has got some elder statesmen going around the country getting views and I think they have now finished getting opinions from Kenyans on how they want to be governed.”
“Now, however, brilliant we may be, a Constitution is about a contract and a contract should involve discussion between the two — the governed and the government,” the Jubilee Secretary General said.
A contract, he noted, is not something a handful of people can sit in a room and say “we have some brilliant ideas here of how we should govern this country.”
“Consultation with Wananchi is very key and that is exactly what the BBI team has been doing and our party is fully behind the team and will adhere to its report,” added Mr Tuju.
The Jubilee party now joins other main opposition parties — Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Wiper Democratic Party (WDP), Amani National Congress (ANC), Ford Kenya among other parties in rejecting the Ekuru Aukot drive.
Mr Edwin Sifuna, the ODM Secretary General argues that Aukot-led party did not collect views from Kenyans before drafting the bill which has already been forwarded to all 47 county assemblies for consideration.
“Constitution making or amendment must always be people driven and result from the widest possible consultations with Kenyans of all walks of life which third way did not bother to attempt,” said Mr Sifuna.
“A proposer for a constitutional amendment through popular initiative has the option under article 257 to put forth general suggestions in the first instance whereupon the Public and other stakeholders would have opportunity to input, refine and enrich their proposals.
"Thirdway chose to forego this and went straight to prepare a bill with their proposals which bill was the basis for collection of signatures,” he added.
The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will finalise and hand in their report to President Kenyatta early September, the task-force’s chairman Yusuf Haji said on Monday.
The team, comprising vice-chairman Adams Oloo, Busia Senator Amos Wako, Said Mwaguni, Ole Ronkei and Agnes Muthama, Monday wound up their final tour in Tana River County where leaders and residents gave their proposals.
Mr Haji said that having received all submissions, the team will embark on an audit starting Monday, where they will pick what citizens in the 47 counties have agreed on for a final draft.
"We still are asking for the top leadership comprising of the chief justice, Senate and the National Assembly to also give their proposals to the BBI so that when we write our report on Monday, we draw it from their memorandums and even Hansard as well," he said.