Move to Create Official Role for Raila in Govt Initiated

  • Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Martha Karua . 24.11.2022.
    Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Martha Karua on Thursday, November 24, 2022.
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Fred Ogolla, a petitioner from Siaya County, on Thursday, November 25, moved to Parliament seeking amendments to the Constitution.

    Ogolla, on Thursday, November 24, pushed for the creation of the office of the official leader of the opposition and super senator among his rafts of changes.

    He also petitioned MPs to amend Article 137 of the Constitution, which stipulates the qualifications and disqualifications for the presidential election.

    Lawmakers were urged to bar a deputy president who has served for two terms from running for the presidency and governors from vying as senators after completing their terms.

    Azimio party leader Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyokaaddresses mpurners during the burial of Mama Baraa in Kakamega County on Monday, October 31, 2022.
    Azimio party leader Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka during the burial of Mama Philomena Barasa in Kakamega County on Monday, October 31, 2022.
    Fernandes Barasa

    Lawyer Wahome Gikonyo, while speaking to KTN News, however, argued that the petition lacks substance and merit,

    "Some of these amendments seeking to amend the Constitution lack merit. You cannot bar a governor who has served two terms from vying for another office because it is his constitutional right.

    "For any petition to be worth considering, one has to bear in mind Chapter 16 of the Constitution, that is Articles 255, 256 and 257 because they deal with the amendment of the 2010 Constitution," he opined. 

    Ogolla's petition came in the wake of another similar prayer seeking the introduction of the Office of Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the Official Leader of the Opposition filed before the National Assembly on Wednesday, November 23. 

    Victor Okul's petition proposes the amendment of the Constitution to introduce the offices on the grounds that the current "winner takes it all" system is regressive.

    "The petitioner is convinced by what he terms as "Winner take it all" system is regressive, particularly in light of the fact that the office of prime minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of opposition was part of the changes various Kenyans had proposed to the draft constitution," a communication from the office of the Speaker read in part.

    Okul claimed the current system is to blame for the divisive presidential elections witnessed in the country since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

    Interestingly, the filed proposed amendments were part of the recommendations in the quashed Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020, a product of the political truce between retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

    The Supreme Court, on March 31, 2022, ruled that BBI was unconstitutional. In their ruling, five out of seven judges of the Supreme Court declared that the President could not lead a popular initiative to amend the Constitution.

    Deputy President William Ruto (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) at rallies in West Pokot and Kajiado respectively in January 2022
    President William Ruto (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) at rallies in West Pokot and Kajiado, respectively in January 2022
    File

    They also observed that a popular initiative is a preserve of the ordinary citizens, popularly known as 'Wanjiku'.

    It remains to be seen if this raft of proposed amendments will see the light of day in Parliament. Kenya Kwanza, the majority party, campaigned against amends to the Constitutions, categorically prioritising the revival of the economy.