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December 14, 2018

Raila team asks for one-term president

ODM leader Raila Odinga and James Orengo at the National Assembly gallery to support the Gender Bill on November 28/JACK OWUOR
ODM leader Raila Odinga and James Orengo at the National Assembly gallery to support the Gender Bill on November 28/JACK OWUOR

ODM has made radical recommendations to the handshake team, including a single seven-year term for the next head of state and a Parliament smaller by half.

The proposals that would trigger a referendum are likely to be the next battlefront between ODM leader Raila Odinga and his political nemesis, Deputy President William Ruto.
      Raila's party also proposes a parliamentary system of government and a three-tier government structure with 14 regional blocs.

The opposition outfit also wants the Directorate of Criminal Investigations delinked from the command of the national police and made a constitutional agency.

It wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission abolished.
        In sweeping changes, the Orange Party proposes drastically slashing the size of the bicameral Parliament from 416 to 208 lawmakers. It wants the Senate empowered as the Upper House. Nominated seats would be abolished in both houses.

The head of state would be barred from seeking reelection.

Read: Building Bridges team briefs Uhuru, Raila at State House

The 14-pages of internal proposals seen by the Star are among suggestions by Raila's political machine that is to be presented to the 14-member Building Bridges Initiative.

The Building Bridges task force has started public hearings across the country and its final report could alter the country's political terrain ahead of the 2022 General Election.

    “We wish to reiterate that the document remains a discussion paper to stimulate conversation that will lead to the formulation of a national ODM Party position that will be presented to the BBI Task Force at the appropriate time,” Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said after the document leaked.

According to ODM, MPs will have the powers to elect the President who will then appoint the Prime Minister.
     “This will remove focus on the presidency that has become the trophy of ethnic competition,” the internal document reads.
     According to the proposal, the 14 regional blocs, each made of several counties, will elect a Regional Premier and deputy.
      In April, Ruto had trashed the proposal backed by many governors who believe the changes would be a major assault on their current powers.
     “Rearranging devolution cannot be by creating another layer. It should be by taking the counties to the wards. We cannot take devolution upwards. [It should be taken] downwards. That is where devolution has to go and we don't have to change the Constitution for that,” Ruto said
     The proposal also calls for regional assemblies, comprised of all members of county assemblies in each region.

The devolved governments would be allocated 45 per cent of national revenue, of which 13.5 per cent would go to regional governments and 26.5 per cent to counties.

Read also: Raila meets ODM leaders for Building Bridges talks
        The ODM proposal calls for the Senate having 29 members, including the speaker; the National Assembly would have 180 legislators.

In another far-reaching suggestion, Raila's party wants to get rid of the EACC. The agency has been seen as moribund in the anti-graft war, despite a massive budgetary allocation. The DCI appears to be the main driver of President Uhuru Kenyatta's corruption purge.
       ODM is pushing for decentralisation of the IEBC that would involve creating national and regional commissions to oversee the electoral process.

The party also wants commissioners appointed on a part-time basis by political parties with enhanced public participation to build credibility.
     ODM also wants stakeholder input into recruitment of senior staff at national and regional levels, rekindling its protracted fight to have ex-CEO Ezra Chiloba axed from the IEBC.

Nasa had also identified top officers of the IEBC whom they accused of bungling last year's presidential vote by allegedly siding with Jubilee.
       At least 30 per cent of all public appointments would be reserved for marginalised communities.
     The party has identified at least five factors that it says contribute to tribal animosity.

They include the scramble for resources at national and local levels, the winner-take-all  electoral system, historical injustices, stereotyping and ethnic profiling and willing-buyer-willing-seller land transfer policies.
     The party says a parliamentary system of government would cure the ethnic animosity that nearly tore the country apart in previous elections.

To eliminate bias in public service, ODM proposes that all civil servants be recruited in proportion to their community's share of the national population.

To deal with corruption and nepotism in employment at the counties, the Orange Party proposes abolishing all county Public Service Boards in favour of regional Public Service Boards.
This means the recruitment of county staff will be done by the regional bodies, thus trimming the powers of governors.
        In what also could cause a storm, ODM says that to cure incompetence in county assemblies, prospective MCAs must have minimum academic qualifications.

     Concerning the government's thirst for borrowing, ODM says the country should declare a moratorium on borrowing until an audit of the current debt has been done.

Kenya’s public debt stands at about Sh5.7 trillion.

“Review budget management at national and devolved levels and address areas of budget leakages,” the paper says.
  ODM calls for strengthening the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

More: [Photos] Obama meets Raila, discusses Building Bridges Initiative

Read also: 14 picked for unity talks team, Uhuru set to address Kenyans

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