MISCONCEPTION

Referendum not a showdown between BBI and DP Ruto

In Summary

• The Constitution is the highest laws in the land and is a contribution of all Kenyans and not individual or institution thinking.

• The DP has his own personal opinion on such matters like the Constitutional review and views expressed by his supporters irrespective of their positions does not necessarily mean to be his.

Deputy President William Ruto, Lands CS Farida Karoney and other leaders during the 3rd RCMRD on International Conference and 4th AfriGEO Symposium, Kasarani, Nairobi County on August 13, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto, Lands CS Farida Karoney and other leaders during the 3rd RCMRD on International Conference and 4th AfriGEO Symposium, Kasarani, Nairobi County on August 13, 2019.
Image: DPPS

The belief among many Kenyans that a referendum to review the Constitution will be a showdown between the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) backed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga against Deputy President William Ruto is a misconception and cannot go unchallenged.

The Constitution is the highest laws in the land and is a contribution of all Kenyans and not individual or institution thinking.

It is, therefore, misleading for such a reputable newspaper like the Star to report that the inevitable referendum will be a litmus test between supporters of the BBI and Punguza Mizigo against the opposers in the impending Constitutional changes.

 

What needs to be taken into consideration is that the BBI has just concluded the collection of views from Kenyans and it will have to compile and table the report to be either accepted or rejected by Kenyans in an event of a referendum.

Let it be known that we are in a democratic country and every Kenyan is constitutionally entitled to his or her own opinion especially on such issues like the law-making process.

It is, however, perplexing that some individuals have misconstrued the calls for constitutional amendments through a referendum to be political succession war and even invoking the name of Ruto where it's not necessary.

Like any other Kenyan, the DP has his own personal opinion on such matters like constitutional review and views expressed by his supporters irrespective of their positions does not necessarily mean to be his.

A Constitutional review is not a collective thinking process by some individuals on behalf of others. And its prudent that in an event that the referendum is called the views of each and every Kenyan is taken into consideration.

What needs to be clear is that the process needs not to open a political gun of worms among rival political groups eyeing elective positions. The Constitution means the lives of Kenyans and not a short process to gain political mileage.

It is therefore fair that the Deputy President is also given a chance to express his own personal opinion on such a weighty matter instead of misconstruing that the opinions of his allies compound to his (DP) thinking.

 

As much as media houses have a right to inform and educate Kenyans on topical issues, it should not translate into the misinterpretation of facts of individual opinion.

The DP should also be consulted in an event that his personal opinion is required for or against calls to have a referendum to or not review the Constitution.

The country is not in a political war and referendum on the constitution is a trigger to explode the ‘political fights’.

Big names or entities make big news but the information contained needs to be factual to win the trust of leaders.

But in such an incident (Ruto allies plot to scuttle Uhuru-Raila referendum) which depicts that the impending referendum or the calls for a referendum on Constitutional review will be a political test between the DP against the BBI, which has received the support of the President and Raila among others is indeed misleading.

It is prudent that Kenyans including leaders like Ruto are allowed to digest the findings or the BBI report, which is yet to be tabled before declaring their stand they have taken.

Everyone’s opinion on and after the BBI report is crucial in determining what needs not or ought to be done with the current constitution.

Issues affecting Kenyans need not always to be politicised and invoke names of senior political personalities like the DP to gain attention or make publications to sell.

What Kenyans need are facts and everyone irrespective of positions in the society has a constitutional right to make his or her independent opinion on such weighty matters.

It is pointless to have flashy headlines with least or no contents for this takes the readers for a ride.

What is required is detailed informative and educational information that can guide and shape the opinion of Kenyans on topical current affairs issues.

Journalism is all about professionalism and each media house has its own style of presenting information but it all boils down to facts and not mere opinions that hold no grounds.

It was particularly wrong and unprofessional on the part of the Star Newspaper to narrowly interpret comments by some MPs to be that of the Deputy President.

The newspaper therefore erred by coming up with an outrageous and flashy headline that has no contents, thus creating panic and confusion among Jubilee supporters.

Kaino works in the DP’s office but comments are his personal view.


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