Jubilee MPs launch drive to change the Constitution

Jubilee MPs have launched a drive dubbed “Boresha Katiba” that seeks to amend the Constitution in a bid counter the Okoa Kenya referendum drive sponsored by Opposition Cord coalition and civil society groups.

The MPs led by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama are pushing for the establishment of a bi-partisan select committee that will go round the country to gather views from Kenyans on the measures to be instituted to correct 20 per cent of the Constitution that is deemed unsuitable.

The Jubilee drive, however, is raising near similar issues to those stipulated in the Okoa Kenya referendum Bill that was presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) last week.

The only difference from Okoa Kenya drive is Jubilee’s  proposal to amend Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity to provide for crimes relating to economic sabotage and drug trafficking shall be capital offences.

Cord leader Raila Odinga and civil society groups presented a draft Bill to IEBC together with 1.5 million signatures in a bid to push for constitutional changes through a popular initiative. To amend the Constitution through popular initiative, one needs the backing of one million registered voters.

Cord proposes to increase the allocation to counties to 45 per cent, up from the current 15 per cent of revenue raised nationally. The Opposition proposed the, strengthening of the Senate, creation of a ward development fund for members of County Assemblies, anchor the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) in the Constitution, reduce the number of commissioners and reform the IEBC among others as issues.

Jubilee, in its Boresha Katiba bid, wants funds devolved to counties increased to 46 per cent of the total revenue raised nationally. They are proposing that seven per cent of natural resources go to communities and 18 per cent to county governments.

“The CDF allocation be increased from 2.5 per cent of the total revenue to five per cent. The ward development fund be created at the ward level and provision be made for allocation of 17 per cent of the total county revenue to the fund and the fund be administered by the MCAs as patrons,” Gideon Konchelah, the Kilgoris MP, said in a statement.

Addressing the Press at Parliament buildings, the MPs proposed that the number of commissioners in all constitutional commissions and independent offices be reduced from the current nine to five. They also want the relevance of all commissions to be reviewed with the aim of reducing the number of commissions.

“We are proposing that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission be devolved to all counties to remedy corruption scourge,” Mr Konchellah said.

Jubilee agreed with Cord proposals that no single Kenyan community will enjoy more than 20 per cent of appointive positions in any State organ.

The Jubilee lawmakers want Article 245 and 246 of the Constitution to be amended to cure ambiguities in the management of national security.

“Consequently, we intend to go round the country and collect three million signatures to enable us meet the set constitutional threshold for this noble initiative,” the MPs said. Mr Kamama said MPs will identify areas in the Constitution that can be amended through a parliamentary initiative.

“We will come up with a Bill to amend the Constitution on areas that don’t require a referendum. If there will be need to go to a referendum, we will structure it in a way that Kenyans will make a decision during the next General Elections polling day,” he said.

SOURCE: BUSINESS DAILY