Raila: No one can stop the push for reforms

Kenya Universities Students Organization chairman Antony Manyara (l) feeds ODM Leader Raila Odinga a Valentine cake as University leadership patron Agnes Kagure(right in red), as other officials look on when they paid a courtesy call to the premier in his Capitol Hill Office,Nairobi. ON 14/02/2019 [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday met students’ leaders from various universities and promised to push for key law reforms this year.

During the meeting at his Capital Hill office, Nairobi, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader rallied university students to support for the push for changes in the constitution and vowed to ensure that proposed changes on governance sail through this year.

“This will be the year of change for this country,” said Raila, who is also African Union's Special Envoy for Infrastructure.

He told off those opposing calls for a review of the constitution saying the train of change had long left the station and would not be stopped.

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“You make a choice to be with us or not. Nobody will stop the change that is coming,” said Raila.

Later, the ODM leader said he discussed the Building Bridges Initiative with the student leaders who promised to be its flag-bearers.

The initiative came up following President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila's March 9, 2018 truce, its team tasked to collect public views on various reforms to unite the country and end a cycle of electoral violence and destructive politics of exclusion.

“They (student leaders) expressed support of the Building Bridges Initiative. They represent different shades of opinion, but united in the good of the country,” observed Raila.

Terming the student leaders as patriots of unity, Raila lauded their commitment to change.

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He said that the country underwent difficult moments before the March 9 handshake.

The entry of student leaders into the push for constitutional change is a boost to Raila who has been advocating for an all-inclusive government that bolsters unity.

The Kenya University Students Organisation (KUSO) chairperson Anthony Manyara called for greater inclusion of students in the national agenda.

The talk on possible referendum comes at a time when the cost 2017 general election has raised eyebrows.

In a report on the poll released on Tuesday, the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that it spent Sh54 billion on the 2017 poll.

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Majority leader Aden Duale, Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairperson, William Cheptumo, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and former Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga expressed concern with the figure and called on IEBC to find ways of cutting poll costs in future. 

It also brought to the fore the question on whether the country could afford a referendum before 2022 general election or not.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati said conducting all elections in a day was exhausting to the electoral staff and proposed national and county elections to be held on separate dates.

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Opposition leaderRaila OdingaODMCriticsReferendumWilliam RutoUhuru