My view has been that the Constitution should be changed to strengthen devolution and to create and enshrine inclusivity.
- But there are opinion leaders and people with power, such as politicians, who influence and make the law.
- And therein lies the problem: Politicians support a certain setup because it will give them power and deny the next party.
Kenyans must not be stampeded into a politicians’ referendum. We should be persuaded it is important that we have one and then be guided into it having agreed it is ours to own because it is in our best interest that we do.
In this regard, it is not enough to tell Kenyans, as does Mr Raila Odinga, that we should prepare for one next year because President Kenyatta and he have agreed that we should have one. It is important we be told what the referendum is about and why it is important.
Kenyans know that Mr Odinga wants the Constitution changed in order to drastically reorder the political and structural architecture of the country by, inter alia, making the shift to a Westminster-style parliamentary system and a three-tier government. It sounds, and is, complex.
Mr Francis Atwoli, the Secretary- General of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, wants a change of the Constitution that will guarantee President Kenyatta a national role in the political pecking order when his legal tenure comes to an end in 2022. That’s eyebrow-raising.
Since the President recently justified imposition of austerity in government and taxes on the populace on an expensive Constitution that created myriad salaried elective and non-elective positions, many politicians want the constitution changed. This is the bandwagon effect.
There are serious thinkers, among them experts in constitutional law, who are asking for an independent audit of the basic law with a view to spelling out, for exhaustive national discussion, what marketers would call its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is creditable.
I first called for a rethink of the Constitution in 2015 and revisited the matter in the lead-up to last year’s General Election and its tumultuous aftermath. My view has been that the Constitution should be changed to strengthen devolution and to create and enshrine inclusivity.
There are, therefore, as many views on what needs to change in Kenya’s constitution to make ours a better society as there are people with opinions. But there are opinion leaders and people with power, such as politicians and legislators, in particular, who influence and make the law.