The journey towards amending the constitution officially kicked off Wednesday following the launch of signature collection in an exercise that was presided over by president Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Speaking during the launch of the drive at the Kenyatta international convention centre COMESA grounds, President Kenyatta described the exercise as a proud moment for Kenya in her quest to actualize the aspirations of the country’s forefathers.
The president saying the proposed amendments seek to address challenges that have bedevilled the nation for years including the question of inclusion and equitable distribution of resources. This even as he called on Kenyans to support the process of amending the constitution saying the reality of life demands constant change.
“The nation is a product of continuous evolution; it is a product made, constantly and purposively. The tree of the nation is watered with a constant stream of ideas. Without this, the nation will wither and die. The only thing that is static and does not change is that which is DEAD.” observed the president.
The president saying that the proposed amendments are meant to capture the aspirations of Kenyans that have evolved over time.
“We need to strengthen the 2010 constitution, we are not talking about replacing but amending the constitution, the first of many amendments that will come over a period of time.” Said the president.
The president saying the journey towards instituting reforms as captured in the BBI report were informed by the unfortunate events every election cycle that is often characterized by violence. This as he reminded Kenyans that the country was in the precipice following the contested 2017 presidential elections.
“Because of the peace that has prevailed since the handshake, many Kenyans have forgotten what was happening at the time. We were on the verge of a divisiveness that would have deeply undermined our continued unity and peace. There were even those reckless few who threatened the destruction of the nation; and actually, got a hearing from sections of the public that felt only drastic action could ease their frustrations. So many countries, some that we share borders with, have trodden a similar path to destruction and ruin” observed the president.
According to president Kenyatta, the referendum bill presents Kenyans with an opportunity to address pertinent issues including resource allocation as well as gender parity and participation. The proposal to have the senate comprise of 50 percent women according to the president, will ensure that women will be at the heart of decision making by determining how counties will spend their allocations.
But even as the president urged Kenyans to actively participate in the process, he was quick to caution them of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let me say that we are embarked on this exercise at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic. We are forging ahead not because we are careless but because we consider this process as crucial to the positive future of our Republic. BBI is a bridge to peace and prosperity that every Kenyan today, and in the generations to come, needs desperately.” Said the president.