Leaders from the ruling Kenya Kwanza Coalition and the opposition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Law makers have differed over proposals by PLO Lumumba to amend Kenya’s 2010 constitution.
While appearing on Citizen TV on Monday, August 28, Kenya Kwanza allied Nyandarua Senator John Methu differed with PLO Lumumba’s proposal saying the constitution is self-healing.
While admitting that all constitutions have their challenges, Senator Methu stated that the Kenyan constitution should be strengthened and given time to be implemented.
He particularly mentioned the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule highlighted by PLO Lumbumba saying just because it has not been implemented doesn’t meant it is impossible.
“Two-thirds gender rule will be implemented with time.” Methu stated.
Conversely, Azimio allied Member of Parliament Rober Mbui noted that the country may need to consider changing a few areas in the constitution including devolution, presidential assent to any bill passed by parliament,
“If there are weighty issues to be addressed, then I think we may need to change a few areas in the constitution.” He stated.
Further, Mbui said the constitution has several issues that need to be addressed eventually.
Additionally, Azimio Principal Martha Karua noted that the Kenyan constitution is great, but Kenya has failed to faithfully implement its provisions.
“We have a great constitution which we have deliberately failed to faithfully implement, but are always eager to amend,” Karua noted.
PLO Lumumba Plans to Begin the Constitutional Amendment Process
Renowned lawyer Patrick Lumumba famously known as PLO Lumumba on Sunday, August 27 announced plans to start the process of amending the Constitution.
PLO Lumumba who leads a group of eminent persons in the constitutional reform initiative asserted that it was ripe for the Kenyan Constitution that was adopted on August 27, 2010, to be re-evaluated.
“The Constitution jealously and magnanimously guarantees us an audience to initiate amendments directly as a people through the popular initiative route,” Lumumba said.
Moreover, this announcement by the Pan-Africanist coincided with the 13th anniversary of the 2010 Constitution’s promulgation.
As such, the constitutional lawyer raised pertinent issues touching on the structure of the Executive, Devolution and independent Constitutional Commissions.
PLO Lumumba argued that the Executive created some positions not contained in the Constitution, hence necessitating a revision of the laws to either accommodate or nullify them.
“We are saying that on a day to be announced, we shall commence the process of collection of signatures, which are to be a minimum of 1 million, in order to ignite the process of a popular initiative,” PLO, stated.
Representation In Public Institutions
While addressing the press on Sunday, August 27, Lumumba stated that some marginal communities are excluded from the two-thirds gender rule provision despite the Kenyan Constitution seeking to ensure that all public institutions adhere.
“We also believe that our representation should be examined. For the last 10 years, we have been grappling with the issue of representation of women, but that is not the only area that we ought to focus on,” PLO stated.
“Do the Ogiek feel that they are part of Kenya? Do the Daasanach feel that they are part of Kenya? We believe that is the time to relook at the question of representation,” he argued.
The Government Structure
Similarly, Lumumba and his team questioned the structure of the current government arguing that some positions had been added.
He mentioned the Prime Cabinet Secretary (PCS), and Chief Cabinet Secretary (CAS), positions that are both not enshrined in the Constitution.
“We have seen the creation of an office called PCS. It is not directly mentioned in the Constitution. We have seen the creation of CAS, and we are saying the time is now to examine our executive and satisfy ourselves that it is something that can take us forward.” Lumumba stated
“There are those who believe that the architecture of our executive arm of government ought to be examined,” he revealed.
In addition, the PLO Lumumba-led team proposed for the re-examination of devolution introduced by the 2010 Constitution.
Devolution allows county governments to carry out their duties independently. According to the team, some aspects of devolution undermined its success.
“Devolution has done many beautiful things but there is sense in which certain things that have also happened undermining the devolution,” he stated.
PLO Lumumba on Constitutional Commissions
Furthermore, PLO Lumumba claimed the government had allowed for the formation of too many constitutional commissions.
The constitutional lawyer argued that the move wasted public funds in the funding of the committees, adding that it is time to review several commissions that have overlapping roles.
“We have offices such as the split in the offices of the Auditor General and split in the office of the Budget Controller. We moved away from a single office. Are we the rich or are we the poorer?” He posed.
Nonetheless, the PLO Lumumba-led camp challenged the state to relook into its alignment with the East African Community and the African continent.
The team proposed the dissolving of the Kenyan borders and free movement of labor as well as relooking into visa requirements.
Likewise, if approved, the move would be expected to align with the Africa-wide Africa Continental Free Trade Area and Africa Agenda 2063 for seamless trade and removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers.
“Is it not the proper time that our own Constitution should also, in a very specific manner, be aligned to what is happening in East Africa and in the Continent of Africa,” Lumumba said.