PUNGUZA MIZIGO BILL BACKLASH

Ignore faulty Punguza Mizigo, wait for BBI - Raila's party

The option for Kenyans is to accept it or reject Punguza Mzigo initiative wholesomely

In Summary

•The option for Kenyans is to accept it or reject Punguza Mzigo initiative wholesomely.

•The constitution is a wholesome document and its amendment must be approached in a wholesome manner.

ODM party leader Raila Odinga (right) chats with secretary general Edwin Sifuna (C) and chairman John Mbandi.
ODM party leader Raila Odinga (right) chats with secretary general Edwin Sifuna (C) and chairman John Mbandi.
Image: FILE

ODM on Thursday called on Kenyans  to reject the Punguza Mizigo Initiative and await the report of the Building Bridges Initiative where they will have a chance to debate the proposals before they are translated into a Constitutional Amendment Bill, if any.

ODM said that since the initiative proposed by the Third Way Alliance cannot be amended, and in light of the weaknesses laid out, Kenyans should not adopt it.

The IEBC last week announced that a proposed constitutional amendment bill sponsored by the Third Way Alliance Kenya Party had met and surpassed the threshold of one million signatures required to initiate an amendment of the Constitution by popular initiative as envisaged under Article 257 of the Constitution of Kenya.

ODM said that from the onset, they noted the complete departure by the IEBC from the precedent it set in signature verification for a similar process in 2017 with the Okoa Kenya Bill presented by the CORD Coalition. "It seems the IEBC will apply different standards for the same exercise depending on who is presenting the signatures," ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna said.

"It is also critical to point out that 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."

ODM said the proposer for a constitutional amendment through popular initiative has the option under article 257 to put forth general suggestions in the first instance whereby the public and other stakeholders would have opportunity to input, refine and enrich their proposals.

They instead said Third Way chose to forego this and went straight to prepare a bill with their proposals which  was the basis for collection of signatures.

"To be clear, no amendments, additions or subtractions can be made to the Punguza Mizigo Bill at this stage. The option for Kenyans is to accept it or reject it wholesomely," ODM said.

The party said it has taken time to study the Bill and has found it "problematic as it undermines the spirit of the very Constitution it seeks to amend".

"It is full of contradictions and inconsistencies and would result in a chaotic constitutional order while not even living to its promise of lessening the burden on the mwananchi."

ODM said  it is clear that few sound proposals are sandwiched with contradictory, outrageous and unsound ones.