ALTERNATIVE VOICE

Democratic Party rejects calls for referendum

In Summary

Party says supreme law yet to be tested by a second regime 

Former Democratic Party Secretary General Chris Murungaru (left), and Organizing Secretary Jacob Haji at Embu.
Former Democratic Party Secretary General Chris Murungaru (left), and Organizing Secretary Jacob Haji at Embu.
Image: FILE

The Democratic Party has punched holes on the quest for a referendum saying it is too early to change the Constitution.

The party, in resolutions of its latest NEC meeting, believes the Constitution is yet to be tested as its pioneer government is yet to serve two terms.

The party also feels that the exercise would be costly considering funding needs for the impending national population census and the just-concluded Sh8 billion Huduma Namba registration drive.

 

Members of the former President Mwai Kibaki-founded party (though he later shifted to PNU), did not have kind words for the Tangatanga and Kieleweke teams, saying their activities are ill-timed.

“First and foremost, we have not even finished a two-term with the new Constitution for us to really know the flaws in it,” Njagi Kumantha, DP's national organising secretary, said.

“It is inadvisable for us to have a referendum when we have not finished the two terms. We need to take time before we decide on what needs to be changed.”

Kumantha, speaking on behalf of the party officials yesterday, said some of the minor changes can be done through Parliament so long as it attains a two-thirds threshold.

The officials are Esau Kioni (chairman), Former Livestock minister Joseph Munyao (party leader), Irungu Nyakera (deputy party leader), Jacob Haji (secretary general), and Moses Ololowuaya (treasurer).

The party further opines that it is unfortunate the referendum debate is being pushed by the leaders yet Kenyans feel otherwise.

“We need to ask the people whether they want the vote or not. Let us first agree whether we need it or not. But for us, we feel we have not given the COK enough time for it to be assessed,” Kumantha said.

 
 
 

For the Democratic Party, the problem of corruption is a question of bad leadership and the lack of implementation of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

“Therefore, no change of government structure would assure a win in the fight unless the leaders themselves change,” the party says.

Officials further lamented that the country is facing a cash crunch citing China’s decision to deny Kenya loans on grounds the country has over-borrowed.

“To add a referendum to the already stretched budget, especially without a proper IEBC in place, is not the right thing to do. I’d rather we forget the idea of the referendum and subject the proposals to Parliament,” the party said.

“We can make a few changes, but shifting from say a presidential to parliamentary system requires a vote by the people. It should wait,” Kumantha said.

For Tangatanga – associated with Deputy President William Ruto, the party castigated the lot for putting the country in an early campaign mood in total violation of the Election Act banning such activities.

“We have not even finished two years after the last election. This is affecting development. The tangatanga team is ill-advised. We don’t support them at all,” the official said.

“There is an official campaign period, which is six months to the general election.”

They further blamed the judiciary of failing on its mandate saying it is common knowledge the Supreme Court is compromised.

“We know many of them will retire before 2022. This is the time to improve the functionality of the Supreme Court.”

The party supports the handshake for restoring peace and tranquility saying it has enabled business both of the private and state sectors to thrive.

Struggling to regain its lost glory - during the days of the clamour for multiparty democracy, DP has sought to revitalize its activities.

Their target in the growth plan is to grow support in areas largely dominated by Jubilee ‘since most of the elected leaders in the party were formally in DP’.

The party has also attempted to demystify the perception that it is a Mount Kenya party by distributing the NEC slots across the board.

It holds that with its presence in 36 counties, it cannot be regarded as a regional party, an argument that positions it as the likely fallback plan for disgruntled Jubilee leaders.

“Since the Jubilee leadership is not reading from the same script, we feel we will get support in the Jubilee-dominated regions. Our key concern is to be in government through our own party or by joining a coalition,” Kumantha said.