MULTIPLE-QUESTION REFERENDUM

I’m with Ruto on BBI, but do we need vote?

In Summary
  • The only solution to election violence is for leaders to concede defeat when they lose.
  • Going by the mood in the country, this is not the right time for leaders to call for a change to the system of governance.
DP William Ruto.
DP William Ruto.
Image: FILE

The push by Deputy President William Ruto for a multiple-question referendum is a move in the right direction. The Elections Act already provides that Kenyans can have a referendum with one question, if there is one issue, or multiple questions if there are more than one issue.

In this case, the Building Bridges Initiative report has several issues, including election, representation, judiciary, executive and devolution, thus it is in order for Ruto to push for a multi-question referendum.

In any case, Ruto has a constitutional right to give his opinion on an issue and not be criticised for it.

 

It is unbelievable that some leaders are pushing to change the 2010 Constitution, even before it is fully implemented. If indeed changing the law is a good idea, why use the provincial administration to force Kenyans to sign for it?

Health workers are begging for personal protective equipment, but it took a record two weeks for chiefs and their assistants to get booklets for BBI signatures.

The amendments should not be forced down our throats. The opinions of all Kenyans matter and they should be given the opportunity to support what is good for them and reject what is bad for them. This can only be achieved by a multi-question referendum.

It is particularly wrong for leaders to subject Kenyans to another round of campaigns in support for or against the proposed changes, barely two years before the country holds a general election.

The circumstances under which the 2010 Constitution was arrived at were not easy as people think. Kenyans were subjected to vigorous Yes and No campaigns that polarised them along ethnic and political lines.

Surprisingly, the same leaders who voted for it now want to change it. What has changed? Did the proponents of the Constitution not realise then that the presidential system created was winner take all?

The Yes team during the 2010 referendum campaign was well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the presidential system of government as well as a parliamentary system. They want to change the laws they helped put in place simply because things did not go their way in the 2013 and 2017 general elections.

 

It is hypocrisy of the highest order for some leaders, especially those in the opposition who are excited because of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, to now criticise the presidential system.

This is obviously for selfish gain.

Changing the Constitution is not a pressing issue. Efforts should be directed towards fighting Covid-19, reviving the economy, implementing the Big Four agenda, taming insecurity, providing healthcare, creating employment and eradicating food shortage.

Going by the mood in the country, this is not the right time for leaders to call for a change to the system of governance. Why should those who supported the 2010 Constitution go back on their own promise to protect devolution and change the system of governance? What if Raila had won?

The only solution to election violence is for leaders to concede defeat when they lose.

Kenyans are not ready to change the system of governance; they should be left to concentrate on development.