Our problems do not warrant a referendum
SEE ALSO :Uhuru's tax gamble that enraged KenyansContentious issues have also included the sustainability of government borrowing trends; poor prioritization; high wage bills and recurrent expenditures; high taxation and a high cost of living. For the first time, Kenyans began having hard conversations about abuse of power, looting of public resources, the role of leaders and regulatory bodies in tackling the vice; the role of our MPs. Kenyans were demanding accountability. There was a sense that the Executive, Parliament, the Judiciary, and certain independent offices, civil society, religious groups and the media were beginning to consciously consider how to regain credibility from the people. The taxation debate and rising inflation illustrated to Kenyans that ethnic, political and class differences and prejudices were meaningless. The Mtu wetu mentality was finally being challenged. The constitutional amendment clarion call started just when the Government, the Opposition and the political establishment had started feeling the outrage and call for accountability from the people. To me, this debate is a political master stroke because it has effectively diverted attention from abuse of office and corruption to our constitutional structure. The argument is that we need to amend the Constitution to remove the many representative positions that are depleting monies meant for development.
SEE ALSO :Raila runs into protest against taxIn reality, Kenya’s problems are a direct result of systemic failures and national attitudes towards good governance, accountability, electoral justice, the rule of law often perpetrated by Kenya’s political elite. The proposed constitutional changes will only give the political class another opportunity to rebrand and reintroduce themselves and their proclivities. The forest may will change, but the monkeys will remain the same. The argument that Kenyans are overrepresented is not a national crisis warranting a constitutional amendment and an expensive referendum. In fact, monies used to pay the alleged representatives is a drop in the ocean compared to the over Sh600 billion lost to corruption, and a lot more lost to wastage and duplication of roles. Past amendments Soon after independence, the National Assembly, through a political agreement by the political establishment severally amended the independence Constitution in 1964, 1966, 1969, 1976 and 1982. They abolished the parliamentary system of government and Senate; consolidated Executive powers; enabled the president to pardon politicians for electoral malpractices; deleted Section 2A of the Constitution thereby rendering Kenya a one-party state; and, introduced the Mlolongo system of voting. [email protected]