There is still a chance for a non-divisive referendum, Ruto says

Deputy President William Ruto says there is a real chance to reach consensus for a non-divisive referendum.

Through his Twitter handle, the Deputy President said that even with the signature launch, Kenyans have the opportunity to express themselves without an ‘us’ vs ‘them’, ‘win’ vs ‘lose’ contest.

The sentiments by the second in command came just hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga launched the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) signature collection exercise.

During the official launch, the President said BBI is aimed at strengthening Kenya’s Constitutional configuration by amending identified provisions in the 2010 Constitution.

“We need to strengthen the 2010 Constitution if we are to continue our decades-long journey in seeking to advance the wellbeing of all Kenyans,” he said.

He observed that the need to amend the constitution is evident in the never-ending threat of post-election violence and public concerns about its lack of inclusivity.

“The reality of life demands constant change if we are to solve our challenges and capitalize on our opportunities,” the President said, warning that constitution rigidity is a recipe for war.

Additionally, the President noted that there is a new mechanism for ensuring greater and meaningful representation of women in the national assembly while retaining the affirmative action in appointive positions.

He said the plight of people living with disabilities and the youth has also been addressed by the proposed amendments by ensuring that they will be adequately represented in parliament.

To ensure that every Kenyan enjoys the democracy that the 2010 Constitution promised, the President said the referendum bill cures the problem of under-representation in some areas and introduces a fair and equitable approach to sharing of national resources.

“The BBI proposals will ensure greater public participation at all levels – ward, constituency, county and national government,” the President said.

On his part, Odinga appealed to Kenyans to come out in large numbers and sign the BBI document in record time so that the process can move to the next stage.

“It is a great time to be in Kenya and to participate in the making of history. In these chapters, we are working on our hopes not fears in search of the unity and prosperity we all desire.

“By appending our signatures today after going through the bill, you are stamping a seal of approval on the process,” Odinga said.


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