In Summary
  • Mr Paul Mwangi said the expectations of a quick roll-out of the initiative were unrealistically high.
  • He added that political exchanges would not derail the initiative.
  • Mr Odinga has met the committee in person, and even called a party parliamentary group session to explain the deal, unlike Mr Kenyatta.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga is revered for timing his messages to good effect. For four months he has kept close to his chest what his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta entailed beyond the ambiguous “uniting the county” narrative.

So much so that even a motley of delegations — elders, politicians, Orange Democratic Movement party front-runners, et al — that he has met to explain the surprise March 9 truce have all left with no clarity on what it was all about.

On Tuesday, however, Mr Odinga appeared to drop his guard, first elaborating what motivated the meeting and, second, what is expected out of the handshake with regard to constitutional reforms.


The latter begged for answers as it came after President Uhuru Kenyatta had declared, during former politician Kenneth Matiba’s funeral that focusing on constitutional reforms would distract him from his legacy projects.

What has changed for Mr Odinga to drop his guard on a matter he and the President appeared to have sworn to keep everyone guessing?

Some have looked for answers from the occasion — the opening of lawyer Makau Mutua’s boutique hotel in Kitui, and the company — his running mate in the last two elections, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, a key supporter of the limping National Super Alliance.

The first explanation appeared meant to mend fences with Mr Musyoka, who has, since the January 30 mock swearing-in of Mr Odinga as “the people’s president”, been looking for a political vehicle having misgivings that he has repeatedly been taken for granted in Nasa.


The issues that need constitutional amendments had been identified in the nine-point memorandum of understanding he entered with President Kenyatta, but Kenyans will have a chance to give views on how the process will be conducted, he said.

This second explanation appeared meant for his general support, which has been complaining that Mr Odinga betrayed them by entering the truce, thus abandoning the quest for “Canaan”, a euphemism for a new Kenya where democracy, the rule of law, equity and popular would yield prosperity for all.

Mr Odinga said the nine-point agenda being implemented by a 14-member team would culminate in the 2010 Constitution being opened up for scrutiny.


“We have agreed with President Kenyatta that if we manage to accomplish correcting these constitutional gaps, we’ll have transformed Kenya into a better country for future generations,” said Mr Odinga.

The team, he added, would go around the country seeking public views on the structure of government, electoral reforms and negative ethnicity.

“You’ll be asked how you want to be governed and how we can improve devolution and dis-tribute wealth in this country. You’ll also give views on whether you want the Executive structure the way it is, or whether we should adopt a parliamentary system of government, or go for a hybrid one,” he said.


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