President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday urged Parliament to stand up for the Constitution and to protect the sovereign will of Kenyans.
President Kenyatta said there is nothing higher than the sovereign will of Kenyans, which is exercised through their elected leaders, and Parliamentarians have a duty to remind every section of government whenever it transgresses on the sovereignty of Kenyans.
The President spoke when he addressed a joint sitting of Parliament during the official opening of the 12th Parliament, where he reminded the MPs that they have a crucial role to play in protecting the liberties and freedoms Kenyans fought hard for.
“It is no accident that the first two articles of the Constitution declare that the sovereignty of the people is exercised through their elected representatives, and that Parliament represents the diversity of the nation,” said the President.
“That history places a profound responsibility on the Members of this House to ‘protect this Constitution and promote the democratic governance of the Republic.”
The President said it is very important for all arms of Government to be free “from intimidation or control by any foreign or domestic actors, and special interest groups”.
He said any official who serves in the three arms of Government must understand undertaking the sacred tasks they were given requires that they “constantly remember, and affirm, in word and deed, that the people are sovereign.”
“Parliament directly represents the people, and it is you, Honourable Members, who must constantly remind all of us about the needs and aspirations of the people who sent you here,” said the President.
“This August House must stand for that unity and must rise to the promises we have made to the people of this great nation,” added the President.
He said the country was going through a defining moment and there was need for the three arms of government to respect each other’s functional independence.
“The separation of powers of the three arms of government is a critical constitutional principle in protecting the liberty of the people,” said the President.
President Kenyatta also used the opportunity to remind Kenyans that electoral contests are not mere competitions between two people but a sacred event where millions of Kenyans transfer their sovereign will to a leader of their choice.
“This is not just a choice between two individuals. Most importantly, it is the transfer of the people’s sovereign will to an office that is the symbol of our national unity; that protects our security, and is key to delivering development and prosperity,” said the President.
The President said Kenyans are gearing up to vote for their choice of President on October 17 and the marks they will place on the ballot papers will represent far more than the desires of politicians.
President Kenyatta cautioned that the choice Kenyans make must never again be sacrificed on claims revolving around issues that have nothing to do with the choices of the people.
“It must be understood that, that marked ballot represents more than technology, that more than computers systems, or even where it was printed,” said the President. “The mark is the choice of a sovereign people. Their choice is sacred and must never be frustrated or ignored.
The President also celebrated the increasing number of women who are being elected to positions of leadership. He also appreciated the trend by Kenyans to vote for younger men and women to represent them in legislative bodies.