Seven-year presidential term sparks controversy
Personal interestRuto warned politicians against using the clamour for constitutional changes for personal interest. He said renewed push for a referendum should be people-centered and not aimed at satisfying personal agenda. Addressing two separate church gatherings in Narok County, Ruto welcomed Punguza Mizigo and Building Bridges Initiative calls to change the Constitution, but cautioned the proponents of both initiatives to be objective and truthful. "The talk around the referendum should be carried out in an objective manner, devoid of deceit and done for the interest of all Kenyans, not for selfish interests," he said.
SEE ALSO :DP Ruto campaigns for Mariga in KibraRuto also downplayed claims that the referendum push and the 2022 succession debates would derail Jubilee Party's development agenda. ODM has supported the seven-year non-renewable term, saying it would take focus away from the presidency, which, it said, had become the trophy for ethnic competition. A leaked preliminary report attributed to the BBI also supported the proposal. BBI later disowned the report. Washiali, who is also the National Assembly chief whip, said if passed, the single seven-year term for president proposed in Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo Bill would lead to two different elections-one for MPs and governors and another for president. “I had an intention of supporting Punguza Mizigo, but there is one proposal that I do not agree with. Kenya will be holding many separate elections. This will not reduce our wage bill at all,” said Washiali.
SEE ALSO :Ruto allies say BBI bad for Mt Kenya“According to the Punguza Mizigo initiative, when the term of the president comes to an end, Kenyans would be subjected to another round of elections for only one person, when the rest of the leaders have settled down,” he said. Uasin-Gishu's Senator Kamar said a seven-year single term for president was not suitable for Kenya. Prof Kamar said a five-year renewable term gave Kenyans the opportunity to deny dictators a second term in office. “What if one day we elect a leader who turns out to be a dictatorial President? We only want five-year term limits for Kenyan presidents,” said Kamar.
Violent competitionThe Third Way Alliance has defended the single seven-year presidential term, arguing that it will end violent competition for presidency, and stop looting by an incumbent fighting to finance reelection campaign.
County governments“As county governments, we are not on BBI and Punguza Mizigo groups. We are now bringing forth our referendum called Ugatuzi because we have been frustrated by Parliament. Ours will increase resources to counties,” the governor said. Separately, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale appeared to break ranks with Ruto's camp, insisting he would support a parliamentary system of government to avoid violence every election year. “I am going to convince the President and deputy President and membership of Jubilee Party to support the parliamentary system,” he said. Separately, Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi has opposed the Punguza Mizigo’s recommendation to reduce the number of constituencies to lower the wage bill. Speaking at St Mary’s Vokoli Girl’s Secondary School yesterday, the former Deputy Prime Minister said the real burden for Kenyans was theft from public coffers and not the number of constituencies. [Reporting by Stephen Rutto, Abdimalik Hajir, Jack Murima, Timothy Makutoh and Robert Kiplagat]
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