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Lobby groups back Constitution amendment

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The call to have a Constitutional amendment received a backing yesterday, with various organisations saying it is inevitable if Kenya is to deal with issues it is currently grappling with. 

The Dialogue Reference Group (DRG) called for breaking of the cycles of exclusion, agitation and token responses by amending the Constitution to ensure inclusivity and provide for an Executive that includes President, Deputy President, Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers.

The group said this will ensure that the Presidency is not overbearing and that it is accountable to Parliament through the Prime Minister appearing before the National Assembly and Cabinet Secretaries appear before committees of Parliament.

DRG also wants the Constitution amended to dignify the Opposition by enabling runners-up in the Presidential election serve as leader of the official Opposition in the National Assembly, while their running-mates become the leader of official opposition in the Senate.

Opposition leader

They recommended that the office of the leader of the official opposition be adequately facilitated to perform oversight over the National government.

Also with the amendments, the group said there should be a reduction in the number of Members of the National Assembly to 209, comprising elected members from 150 constituencies, 47 Women Representatives and 12 special members.

DRG chairman Archbishop Martin Kivuva said runners-up in the gubernatorial polls should be facilitated to assume the position of the Leader of the Opposition in the counties.

“Violence erupts when feelings of exclusion reach the a crisis level, especially in the context of diminished economic performance and rising poverty. This has caused the country to manifest a downward spiral towards the abyss,” he said.

This was part of the views presented to the Building Bridges to Unity advisory taskforce, led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, which held a consultative public engagement in Nairobi.

On devolution, DRG said the Senate should pass a law to facilitate an inclusive stakeholder driven audit to establish the status of its implementation.

The group is also seeking to have Council of Governors immediately convene a national stakeholder conference to address the crises in devolution and outline strategies to ensure citizens receive full benefits.

Others who presented their views were Transparency International (TI) and Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO).

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