Uhuru Invokes Tom Mboya's Spirit in Constitutional Reforms Push 

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta during an address at State House Nairobi in April 2020.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta during an address at State House Nairobi in April 2020.
    Citizen Digital
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, June 1, issued his speech during the 57th Madaraka day celebrations where he addressed a raft of issues including a push for constitutional reforms.

    Speaking at State House, Nairobi, the president invoked the spirit of the late trade unionist Tom Mboya while pushing for the improvement of the Consitution 2010.

    "Fifty years ago, Tom Mboya warned Kenyans against constitutional rigidity.  As I have already mentioned, he told us that a constitution is not an end in itself; it is a means to a greater end.

    om Mboya with students of his alma mater, Mang'u High School in November 1963.
    Tom Mboya with students of his alma mater, Mang'u High School in November 1963.
    The Standard

    "It is a living document. And if certain elements of the constitution outlive their historical purposes, they become cancer. They must be removed or they will infect the good elements of the mother law," Uhuru noted.

    He added that the independence activist had argued that the constitution cannot be useful to a country if it is an end in itself stating that a good constitution must be responsive to the aspirations of a nation and be a means to a greater end.

    "And if the political architecture provided by a constitution cannot support the growth and progress of a nation, that constitution becomes cancer to the 'body politik'," the head of State conveyed.

    He further observed that the constitution had undergone reforms in the past referring to the removal of section 2(a) that had been added to the independence constitution in the early 1980s.

    "We removed this section in 1991 in order to create a multi-party system.  This section had outlived its historical purposes and it was morphing into political cancer. 

    "Then after the 2008 violence, we embedded the National Accord and Reconciliation Act (NARA) into the constitution, to expand the Executive Arm of Government.  This happened out of historical necessity. And in 2010, we formulated and adopted a new constitution, altogether replacing the independence constitution," he observed.

    Expressing his gratitude to being the first president mandated to implement the 2010 constitution, Uhuru affirmed that the push for a referendum was not to replace the constitution but rather to improve on it.

    "Fundamentally, the constitutional moment I discern is one that will bring an end to the senseless cycles of violence we have experienced in every election since 1992.  And one that will deepen our democratic credentials and lead to a much more inclusive society, which, I believe, was the intention of the framers of the 2010 constitution," he noted.