President William Ruto when he was handed over the instruments of power during his swearing-in at Kasarani Stadium. [PSCU]

A voter has written to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) seeking to collect a million signatures to change the Constitution to allow a rotational presidency.

Nyongesa Makhanu, an architect, wants the president elected from a community other than that of the retiring president and his/her predecessor.

Mr Makhanu in his petition to the commission chaired by Wafula Chebukati says the limitation should not apply to the sitting president at the time of the enactment of the law.

In the raft of constitutional amendments, he proposes that the runner up and their running mate in the presidential election should get direct nominations to the National Assembly and Senate, respectively, to lead their troops.

Had this proposal been law then Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader Raila Odinga would now be sitting in the National Assembly while his running mate Martha Karua would be a senator.

The petitioner is also seeking to have the General Election date moved from the first Tuesday of August to the third week of December. Makhanu argues that there is a need to harmonise the fixed election calendar with the economic, school and national financial calendars.

"That holding presidential election on the Second Tuesday of August affects national economic activities negatively, particularly the tourism sector because it clashes with the season for the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystem," he says.

Makhanu says holding the elections on the second Tuesday of August affects the outgoing government’s annual budget, thus triggering prolonged budgetary constraints, which delay implementation of incoming government's manifesto.

"That holding presidential elections and General Election after Jamhuri Day and before Christmas will be more in synchrony with the national economic, financial, and academic calendars," he says in the letter.

On rotational presidency, Makhanu says Kenyan elections are largely tribal and this has led to voter apathy.

He calls for the adoption of an electoral system that fosters national inclusivity, cohesion, and stability in the presidency premised on the right of eligible Kenyans to contest for the presidency, with a realistic chance to win, irrespective of their gender or ethnicity. 

"No Kenyan should ever despair and lose faith in the electoral system because their bid for presidency would always be in vain simply because of their gender or community of birth. The fifth liberation is at hand, and that inclusivity in the presidency over time, by both gender and inter-community representation are the two cornerstones of the fifth liberation," he says.

Makhanu argues that the fifth liberation can be achieved by mutual national consensus, devoid of polarised or toxic contestation. 

He says ethnic divisions, which characterised the 2013 presidential election, were also witnessed in 2017 even to a greater extent, which culminated in the annulment of the presidential election by the Supreme Court.

"That despite the Supreme Court's landmark annulment of the presidential election result and order for a repeat presidential election, the third community candidate did not find it worthy to participate in the repeat election because, in their considered opinion, the same historically discriminatory and unjust electoral system was in place," he says.

"That rather than participate in the repeat presidential election, third communities mobilised 30 counties and voted for secession."

The petitioner averred that ethnic polarisation characterised the presidential contest this year, only that the Supreme Court upheld the presidential election outcome as announced by the IEBC.

To cure ethnic polarisation, Makhanu proposes that for one to be cleared for the presidency, he must be approved by a cluster of counties and through the county assemblies in those devolved units.

For purposes of sponsorship, nomination, clearance, and registration of candidates for the presidential election, he proposes that the 47 counties shall be grouped into nine community clusters, based on regional proximity, broad ethno lingual characteristic, and political inclination.

Cluster one will include Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta counties; Cluster two, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Marsabit, Isiolo counties; Cluster three, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni counties and Cluster four, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Nakuru and Laikipia.

Cluster five will comprise Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Narok and Kajiado counties; Cluster six, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Baringo, Kericho and Bomet counties.

Cluster seven will have Trans Nzoia, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia counties; Cluster eight, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira counties, while Nairobi county will be a single cluster. 

The petitioner argues that in addition to fulfilling the eligibility requirements of Article 137(1) of the Constitution, a presidential aspirant shall present a certificate of sponsorship from one of the 47 counties to become eligible to contest for the presidency. 

"The County Sponsorship Certificate shall be issued on the basis of a three-quarter overall or 75 per cent vote in the county assembly," he says.