BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,30TH NOV 2021-President Uhuru Kenyatta says the High Court’s decision to invalidate the Building Bridges Initiative denied Kenyans the constitutional change they wanted.
Speaking in the National Assembly during the 8th State of the Nation Address and his last as Head of State, President Uhuru said the people of Kenya spoke in one voice in regard to the first amendment of the Constitution.
“We went to the people and 5 Million Kenyans agreed to initiate the process of putting to the vote the First Amendment to the 2010 constitution. The First Amendment was, thereafter taken to the County Assemblies, where it received nearly unanimous endorsement. In Parliament, the People’s Elected Representatives gave the First Amendment a clear nod of approval by a margin in excess of two-thirds,” He said.
President Uhuru said Kenyans exercised their power directly through the IEBC petition for constitutional change, and indirectly through County Assemblies and Parliament.
“The people of Kenya wanted a Constitutional change, but a few individuals sat down in a backroom and decided otherwise,” He said.
In dismissing the constitutional amendment, President Uhuru said Kenyans missed an opportunity to increase the minimum county allocations from the current 15 percent to 35 percent.
“We wanted a constitutional amendment that was clear and certain. This did not happen. Had this amendment been adopted, counties would have received Ksh 562 Billion instead of the Ksh 316.5 Billion allocated to them in the 2020/21 Budget,” He said.
President Uhuru further said Kenyans lost an opportunity for proportional representation.
“Proportionality is about the equitable distribution of resources amongst all groups. And on this, we were keen on proportional gender balance, among other things. The First Amendment to our Constitution would have ensured that 50% of all Senators are women,” He said.
He said the third loss was on an expanded National Executive to accommodate a broader face of Kenya and expand representation saying the same would have constitutionalized the end of the winner-takes-all outcome of elections that creates so much toxicity and tension.