CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW

Aukot should change tack for backing on Punguza Mizigo bill

Kenyans supported the handshake because it brought peace after suffering in post-election violence

In Summary

• Punguza Mizigo has similar proposals as those of the Building Bridges Initiative. 

• Thirdway Alliance should seek more backing from leaders instead of a one-man show, BBI has already carried out public participation and is hence ahead. 

Signature collection books for the Punduza Mzigo referendum campaign
ENGAGE LEADERS: Signature collection books for the Punduza Mzigo referendum campaign
Image: COURTESY

The debate on Thirdway Alliance’s Punguza Mizigo initiative gained momentum after the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission completed verifying the support signatures and endorsed a million-plus as genuine.

The Ekuru Aukot-led party was required to collect a minimum of one million signatures from Kenyans who voted during the 2017 General Election. The bill would not go down with pro-handshake leaders because the Building Bridges Initiative unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former PM Raila Odinga undertakes a similar exercise.

Punguza Mizigo was launched at a time when the BBI task force was almost concluding its public hearings across the country. In these visits, the officials collected residents’ views, meaning their report would be more inclusive and people-driven. Those opposed to Aukot’s bill urge Kenyans to ignore him ‘because he is out to mislead and confuse them’ while Aukot denounces the proponents of the handshake.

 

I would urge Aukot to change tack. Resorting to chest-thumping, one-man show and casting the elected leaders as failures and enemies of the people will not help him to realise his dream. He should know a referendum is both legal and a political process.

So, he can only leave a mark if he engages leaders at all levels. This may help him deal with those who may opt to sabotage his initiative. Aukot has said he is enjoying the support of many Kenyans but the 1.2 million signatures he collected are just a drop in the ocean against the total population of voters.

Majority of Kenyans lauded Uhuru’s and Raila’s move to put aside their political differences for the sake of peace and will not just drop that support having suffered in post-poll chaos. 

Political analyst and blogger