LAW CHANGE

Craft the referendum in the 2005 model MP Amollo

Nandi MCA Ronald Magech says the government should consider holding the referendum alongside the 2022 General Election to reduce costs

In Summary

• Legislator Otiende roots for collapsing of current clamour for law change into a single question

• Senator Kilonzo says the country might not realise constitutional reforms soon given the protracted nature of the process.

Delegates at the fourth annual legislative summit in Kisumu
Delegates at the fourth annual legislative summit in Kisumu
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo wants a referendum crafted on the 2005 model as any other way is likely to confuse Kenyans.

Amollo, during the legislative summit, rooted for collapsing the current clamour for law change into a single question instead of having several issues presented to the electorate.

Amollo, who was a member of the Committee of Experts, kicked off the debate, saying all the issues raised should be prioritised through a national dialogue and then sieved into few areas which would then be subjected to a vote.

In 2005, the referendum campaign was organised in two referendum camps, the  Bananas (Yes) and the Oranges (No).

“We can put an individual question which addresses at least three to four pertinent questions.  With good political will, we can hold a referendum as we did in 2005 and 2010 without going through the vigorous legal requirement,” he said.

He, however, warned against having political expediency driving the clamour for the law change, insisting that any method to change the supreme law should be motivated by a more holistic approach that will ensure the law serves Kenyans better.

Any move to alter the law, he said, should factor how, when and what the country needs to change in the 2010 Constitution.

 “Due to the high costs involved, we do not want to see a situation where we embark on a referendum debate a few years later,” said the Rarieda lawmaker.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, who was among the discussants, said the country might not realise constitutional reforms soon given the protracted nature of the process.

He called for political sobriety, saying the current political climate and the high threshold required to have the referendum bill sail through the two Houses might not be achieved.

Currently, apart from the Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuro Aukot’s Punguza Mzigo push, there is the Building Bridges Initiative, which is expected to end up into a referendum question

Aukot’s initiative, which seeks to bring a massive restructuring of the country’s governance by among others shrinking the representation, is already with the IEBC.

However, according to Otiende, the Punguza Mizigo push might not go down well with Kenyans, especially where it proposes to abolish a number of elective positions and scrap some of the wards, constituencies, and counties.

“Aukot knows very well that a populist idea has far-reaching repercussions. We had challenges drafting the law. No Kenyan from our past experience would cede ground on an existing position or governance structure,” he said.

“You will never take away from Kenyans what you have given to them. Let us focus on how to circumvent those realities.”

Nandi  MCA Ronald Magech said the government should consider holding the referendum alongside the 2022 General Election to reduce costs.

This was supported by a number of MCAs who said the country should not spend billions in conducting two separate exercises which can be merged.