President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for a constitutional consensus that will accommodate all communities and make it possible for any Kenyan to lead the Country.
Speaking during the 11th Mashujaa day celebrations in Kisii, the President said calls for a constitutional change should not be misconstrued to mean a quest to create positions for individuals.
ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga set the ball rolling after declaring that Reggae is back from “halftime” and that it’s unstoppable.
“For 56 years we have followed one direction. We need to look at what else is missing so that project Kenya can move forward,” He said.
Raila said the BBI train will now head to Kakamega, Mombasa, Narok, Meru, Kitui and Nakuru Counties to drum up support for the document.
His remarks eliciting reaction from Deputy President William Ruto whose response was short yet precise. “My friend, the former Prime Minister has talked about reggae, which is fine. But I guess we will have a robust national conversation that will bring everyone on board.”
And while it appeared the President would give the matter a wide berth, he actually had more to say on the intended constitutional change than the two.
Indeed President Uhuru said he agrees with the Deputy President on the need for bold conversations and inclusivity on constitutional change.
“This question of “us” versus “them” must come to an end. And as we exercise our democratic rights, it must never again be at the expense of our diversity. The cardinal principle must always be our unity in diversity,” He said.
Uhuru said the 2010 Constitution gave Kenyans some remedies, but did not resolve or entrench the zero-sum game, in which the winner takes it all and the loser goes home with nothing.
“How do we expect to resolve this problem using elections instead of constitutional change?” He posed.
Uhuru said it would be a tragedy if the country fails to resolve the dilemma during the subsequent elections saying there is need to ponder a constitutional consensus around a three-pronged National Question.
“On the one part, the Question is political inclusion. Instead of a zero-sum constitutional equation, can we adopt a positive-sum equation? Can we adopt a constitutional arrangement that takes care of our diversity as a people?” He said.
The second part he said should focus on equity in distribution of opportunities and resources. “Our political practice has been such that, resources and opportunity go to those occupying positions of power. And that is why elections are so divisive and emotive.”
Uhuru said there is need to entrench the principle of equity in distribution of resources and opportunities in the Constitution, saying it was the best bet yet to guarantee inclusivity.
The third and last part speaks to the contestations and violence every electoral cycle. “One year before every election, the economy shuts down as it anticipates the turns and twists of the election. One year after the election, the economy is still on a go-slow as markets wrap themselves around the emerging political constellations. This means that in every electoral cycle of five years, two years are wasted exclusively attending to electoral matters,” He said.
The President was quick to emphasis the need for unity among leaders regardless of election outcomes. “We don’t have to differ to the point where we insult one another, where we shed blood of our own brothers and sisters because of what we want. If we respect each other you will also be respected.”
He took time after he had completed his speech to introduce ANC Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka as well as FORD Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula saying their presence was a show of unity to Kenya and should be encouraged going forward.
Mudavadi welcomed the clarity on BBI saying, “The President has said clearly it is not about creating positions. Let Kenyans wait for the report and examine it critically. We need leadership which will focus on reviving the economy and creating jobs for our youth is a key component.”