Don't extend your term, Karua cautions Uhuru

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua when she endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta as their presidential candidate during their delegates meeting at St. Andrews Hall on May 6, 2017. [File, Standard]

NARC-Kenya leader Martha Karua has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure a smooth handover of power when his tenure ends later this year.  

Karua, who was speaking during Narc-Kenya’s National Delegates Convention (NDC) in Nairobi yesterday, asked President Kenyatta to uphold the Constitution by not extending his term.  

“The reason we have constitutional term limits is to give other Kenyans the opportunity to lead the country. As we move forward, we want to encourage the sitting president to continue with this tradition and exit power come the General Election,” said Karua.

Karua rallied party members to support her as they shop for a coalition that would ensure they are in the next government.

She said she was driven to make that statement after hearing utterances, some attributed to senior government officials, that there was no constitutional hindrance to President Kenyatta from serving as Prime Minister.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are the president or prime minister. What the Constitution says is you cannot be head of government for more than 10 years,” said Karua.

Irrespective of age, she said, a leader should leave office after their term ends.

“You could even be 40,” said Karua, “but when the time comes, leave office and do something else.”

At the height of the drive to amend the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), speculation was rife that President Kenyatta was intent on becoming a prime minister.

Uhuru has, however, denied the claims. He said in a meeting at State House last August that he was ready for the country to have an election.

“I’m ready for an election at the prescribed time as I have said several times. That’s what I’ve been working on, that’s the schedule,” President Kenyatta said. 

The meeting of Narc-Kenya delegates was attended by Karua’s allies in the One Kenya Alliance - Kanu leader Senator Gideon Moi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Cyrus Jirongo of the United Democratic Party, as well as Sauti ya Wazalendo’s Mukhisa Kituyi. Gideon supported Karua on the need for firm action against corruption. “The days of talking about corruption and doing nothing have taken us nowhere. We have to be resolute on how we deal with corruption,” he said.

Gideon said OKA leaders were determined to fix country to be what it is supposed to be. Kalonzo said Kenya should make the right decision on August 9.

“We will not allow young Kenyans to be degraded by agents of corruption and disunity, and by people who have no regard for international relations because they are preoccupied with selfish ambition that they want to degrade the integrity of other nations,” Kalonzo said.

He added: “Our intention is not to demean anyone. We will challenge those who want to degrade the dignity of this nation.”  

Jirongo also delivered a stinging criticism against “leadership that looks at a country like a business, at our taxes as their personal wealth, and has turned the country to be personal property.”

“This will have to come to an end. We should not be sidelined by those who feel they have a right to own Kenya. This country belongs to all of us,” he said.

Jirongo said OKA was determined to ensure whatever conversation they were having was on behalf of all Kenya, not leaders. Kituyi said he was in talks with OKA. 

The party’s national delegates backed the National Executive Council for the party to field candidates at all levels, including the presidency. It also endorsed the discussion between Narc-Kenya and OKA.