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CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Bill to bar governors from contesting is illegal

It smacks of political rivalry taken too far.

In Summary
  • Article 38 specifically provides for political rights. These include the right “to be a candidate for public office”.
  • Chapter Four ring-fenced from any tampering by Parliament. It can only be changed by the people in a referendum.
Senators Michael Mbito and Sylvia Kasanga after meeting the Mental Health Task Force at a Nairobi hotel yesterday.
Senators Michael Mbito and Sylvia Kasanga after meeting the Mental Health Task Force at a Nairobi hotel yesterday.
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

The 2010 Constitution of Kenya is undoubtedly among the most progressive in the world with elaborate provisions on the Bill of Rights. These provisions guarantee basic human rights and give citizens enormous powers to determine how they are to be governed.

Article 38 specifically provides for political rights. These include the right “to be a candidate for public office”.

Despite these express provisions, Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito has drafted a mischievous constitutional amendment bill that would claw back these rights. The legislative proposal seeks to bar governors from running for political office within the first five years after leaving office.

 

This bill is outright illegal and is for nothing but overwhelming rejection. In fact, it should not even make it to the government printer. It’s not just a waste of Parliament’s time but also taxpayer’s resources. It smacks of political rivalry taken too far.

Chapter Four of the Constitution on the Bill of Rights are among the sacred sections ring-fenced from any tampering by Parliament. It can only be changed by the people in a referendum.

Kenya is a democracy. As such, political competition on the basis of ideology should be encouraged. Seeking to bar people from the ballot through unorthodox means is unacceptable. In any case, the Senate has a platform to expose corrupt governors unfit to hold public office.