(UN)POPULAR INITIATIVE

Hasty passing of BBI shows leaders’ greed

The clamour for a referendum comes at a time when the Constitution itself has not been fully implemented.

In Summary

• The ward rep’s greatest concern at the moment is getting the cars and securing another term in office.

• This is unfortunate because it confirms that the ordinary Kenyan is nowhere in the list of their priorities.

The passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill (2020) by the county assemblies in quick succession after the car grant promise mirrors the runaway greed in Kenya.

It demonstrates that MCAs stand for nothing and can be bought and sold like goods in the market. The ward rep’s greatest concern at the moment is getting the cars and securing another term in office. This is unfortunate because it confirms that the ordinary Kenyan is nowhere in the list of their priorities. It further proves that the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Premier Raila Odinga to amend the Constitution is self-serving. It is certainly is not motivated by the desire to improve the lives of Kenyans.

How do they, for instance, justify the 70 additional parliamentary seats when we have a bloated Legislature? Already, a number of politicians have whined about the proposed distribution of the seats claiming it’s arbitrary. Among the most vocal has been former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.

Kalonzo has publicly complained about the ‘inequitable’ distribution of the extra constituencies to Lower Eastern counties comprising Machakos, Makueni and Kitui. In the BBI proposal, Machakos, which has 1.42 million people, will get three seats, Makueni with a population of 987,653 will bag one, and Kitui having 1.13 million people will get none. Yet, according to Kalonzo, Kitui is the size of Rwanda.

While the Wiper leader has a point, I would like to remind him that more seats do not automatically translate into better livelihoods for wananchi. For that to be achieved, prudent and faithful management of public resources is required. In fact, what it guarantees is a heavier tax yoke upon Kenyans. Kalonzo has been in public leadership long enough to know that. Instead of calling for redistribution, he should do a self-introspection and diligently consider what he has done for the Ukambani region in the many years he has served in the government.

The clamour for a referendum comes at a time when the Constitution itself has not been fully implemented. As if the Kenyan Supreme Law is a buffet, President Kenyatta and his government have been picking only what favours them and disregarding the rest. How many times, for instance, has the Executive repeatedly ignored court orders?

The Legislature has also adamantly refused to resolve the inequality in Parliament by passing the two-thirds gender rule obviously because it will negatively impact the parliamentarians. By openly violating the Constitution he vowed to defend, President Kenyatta has demonstrated his lack of commitment to upholding the rule of law.

At the same time, he has set an example which continues to embolden his associates, government and public officials to break the law with impunity. Considering that Kenya is creaking under public debt and the Constitution has not been operationalized as it should, the BBI plebiscite is unwarranted.

Kabugi Mbae, Nairobi