- State House and Raila Odinga
President Willliam Ruto, on Friday, December 9, weighed in on the reports around creating the Office of the Leader of Official Opposition through a Constitutional amendment.
In a memo written to MPs, the President expressed his support for the idea and asked both houses to proceed with the amendments to see the office entrenched in the Constitution, a move that would see Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga, assume office with several powers.
Further, Ruto urged the legislators to craft supportive legislation and dimensions within which the leader will operate.
"I, therefore, propose that Parliament consider an amendment to Chapter 9, Part IV of the Constitution to establish the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition, with its operational dimensions to be provided for in consequential legislation.Members of the 13th Parliament during President William Ruto's inaugural speech on September 29, 2022.The National Assembly
According to Ruto, the current system excluded the minority from participation in pertinent issues of national interest since the opposition was forced to rely on the Leader of the Minority in Parliament to push its agenda or participate in national issues.
Further, he noted that the move would enhance the opposition’s ability to provide checks and balances and eventually promote democracy.
"The consequence is that the overall political leader of the minority side is effectively excluded from meaningful political participation, and left to rely on the minority house leadership to perform the function,” Ruto stated in the memo.
“The time has come for us to explore the possibility of remedying this shortcoming," he added.
If executed, the proposal would see the opposition enjoy a raft of privileges, including funding operations within the role of providing oversight over the government of the day.ODM Leader Raila Odinga addresses the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani summit held in Tana River County on December 9, 2022.Raila Odinga
In addition, the entrenchment of the law would see the opposition wield additional powers, from taking part in the appointment of key leaders to state organs and addressing Parliament on the state of the nation.
The letter by President Ruto came amid reports that the government reached out to the opposition for a deal that culminated in the cancellation of their parallel Jamhuri Day rally.
However, Odinga refuted the claims and reiterated that he cancelled the rally to attend a global summit in the United States of America following an invitation from President Joe Biden.
"I cancelled the Jamhuri day rally after I got an invitation from the US government to travel to the US tomorrow for the US-Africa Summit. Some people say that I was cowed. I do not fear any human being."
"I was invited to address Presidents and investors on opportunities in the infrastructure sector," Raila explained.
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