Press Statement by Promoters of Popular Initiative Constitutional Amendment, Under Article 257 of The Constitution of Kenya, 2010

Part A- Historical Background.

Ladies and gen­tle­men, in the his­to­ry of Kenya’s polit­i­cal gov­er­nance, noth­ing has dom­i­nat­ed Kenya’s air­waves more than the clam­our for con­sti­tu­tion­al reforms. In the run up to the 1992 gen­er­al elec­tion, the famous Sec­ond Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment coa­lesced around the need to repeal the infa­mous Sec­tion 2A of the repealed Con­sti­tu­tion, to ush­er in a broad­er mul­ti­plic­i­ty of com­pet­i­tive pol­i­tics by var­i­ous diver­gent polit­i­cal par­ties. This was the irre­ducible min­i­mum for the then oppo­si­tion hon­chos who admit­ted that a recep­tive con­sti­tu­tion­al frame­work, which nei­ther favoured nor dis­crim­i­nat­ed against sec­tions of the pop­u­lace, was the most sought after lev­el play­ing field to mid­wife a polit­i­cal derby.

First Katiba Review.

As his­to­ry would repeat itself, on the 17th of July 1997, the late Pres­i­dent Moi acced­ed in prin­ci­ple, to demands for con­sti­tu­tion­al and legal reforms fol­low­ing intense pres­sure which was piled by the civ­il soci­ety groups and inter­na­tion­al donors, after a string of vio­lence and trail of deaths result­ed from con­fronta­tion­al repres­sions of demon­stra­tions by the state-sanc­­tioned secu­ri­ty forces and para­mil­i­tary units. Ear­li­er on, on the 7TH of July 1997, at least thir­teen peo­ple had been report­ed dead fol­low­ing the nation­wide pro-reform ral­lies to force con­sti­tu­tion­al changes a head of the 1997 gen­er­al elec­tion. These, among many oth­er fac­tors cob­bled togeth­er the Inter-Par­­ty Par­lia­men­tary Group (IPPG), con­sti­tut­ed of Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment from across the polit­i­cal divide. The IPPG as it was pop­u­lar­ly known, rec­om­mend­ed the repeal­ing of cer­tain colo­nial leg­is­la­tions deemed as restric­tive with­in the con­text of free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion, pro­posed the expan­sion of the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of Kenya (E.C.K), there­by giv­ing oppo­si­tion par­ties some lever­age to have a min­i­mal say on the expan­sion of elec­toral ref­er­ee and of sig­nif­i­cance to note, was its rec­om­men­da­tion for the estab­lish­ment of a com­pre­hen­sive con­sti­tu­tion­al review and reform process road map.

Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya Review Com­mis­sion (CKRC). Five years lat­er, the NARC eupho­ria, pegged on the plat­form of com­pre­hen­sive con­sti­tu­tion­al review and legal reforms, slaugh­tered the cock­er­el out of pow­er and in the year 2003, the NARC regime cul­ti­vat­ed an envi­ron­ment and facil­i­tat­ed a plat­form which led to the con­gre­ga­tion of del­e­gates at the BOMAS of Kenya to chart a com­pre­hen­sive con­sti­tu­tion­al review des­tiny. Under the aus­pices of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya Review Com­mis­sion (CKRC), Kenya birthed the BOMAS Draft which embed­ded deep­er devo­lu­tion roots and reor­ga­nized the Nation­al Exec­u­tive in a man­ner which was in con­so­nance with the peo­ples’ desires and needs. Due to irre­triev­able and irrec­on­cil­able fac­tion­al dif­fer­ences with­in the NARC for­ma­tion, pit­ting the Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (LDP) against the Nation­al Alliance of Kenya (NAK), the BOMAS Draft was lat­er on muti­lat­ed in Kil­i­fi, and Kenya end­ed up with the “Kil­i­fi Draft” also known as the “Wako Draft”, which was the sub­ject of a ref­er­en­dum on Mon­day, the 21ST of Novem­ber, 2005.

The Kofi Annan National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process.

Fol­low­ing the hot­ly con­test­ed polls of 2007 and the sub­se­quent pro­tract­ed post poll pan­de­mo­ni­um, the Kenya Nation­al Dia­logue and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion team led by the then Unit­ed Nations Sec­re­­tary- Gen­er­al the late Dr. Kofi Annan, and bring­ing togeth­er the African

Union Pan­el of Emi­nent Per­son­al­i­ties, rec­om­mend­ed a com­pre­hen­sive con­sti­tu­tion­al reform as one of its agen­da items. This laid the road map for a con­sti­tu­tion­al review process which led to a ref­er­en­dum on Wednes­day, the 4TH of August 2010, and sub­se­quent pro­mul­ga­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya (2010) on Wednes­day, the 27TH Octo­ber, 2010.

Okoa Kenya, Punguza Mzigo and Building Bridges Initiative.

Fast for­ward, there have been ini­tial attempts by Kenyans of good will to pro­pose bet­ter tex­tu­al and struc­tur­al adjust­ments of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya 2010, first by the Coali­tion for Reforms and Democ­ra­cy (CORD) through the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya 2010 (Amend­ment) Bill, 2015, ‘dubbed’ OKoa Kenya Bill, sec­ond­ly by the Third Way Alliance Par­ty through The Pun­guza Mzi­go (Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya Amend­ment) Bill, 2019 and final­ly, by the Build­ing Bridges Ini­tia­tive (BBI), through the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya (Amend­ment) Bill, 2020.

Part B- Post mortem of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.

Notwith­stand­ing this his­tor­i­cal con­text, it is inescapable to observe that all the gen­er­al elec­tions con­duct­ed under the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya 2010 have been con­test­ed. Under the pre­vail­ing cir­cum­stances, we the peo­ple of Kenya, orig­i­nat­ing from dif­fer­ent seg­ments of the soci­ety, cog­nizant of the real­i­ty of the archi­tec­ture of our gov­er­nance, hav­ing intro­spect­ed our­selves as a peo­ple with all the fairest and sin­cer­est inten­tion, do here­by con­duct an inci­sive, thought­ful, care­ful, ratio­nal, ana­lyt­i­cal and patri­ot­ic post mortem of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya, 2010 through a POPULAR INITIATIVE as enshrined in Arti­cle 257, do note that:

1) We observe that there are exis­ten­tial aspects of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya 2010 which are in har­mo­ny with our present needs as a peo­ple. 2) Aware that Kenya has wit­nessed tremen­dous social and eco­nom­ic trans­for­ma­tion, her­ald­ed by the new con­sti­tu­tion­al dis­pen­sa­tion, with immense growth and devel­op­ment being wit­nessed in regions which for a very long time had suf­fered eco­nom­ic mar­gin­al­iza­tion. 3) Mind­ful that unem­ploy­ment, pub­lic debt, pub­lic wage bill and a frag­ile tax base are the major chal­lenges afflict­ing our coun­try today.

4) Con­vinced that notwith­stand­ing our diver­si­ty as a peo­ple, we are all inclined to align with good gov­er­nance and bet­ter peri­od­ic adjust­ments on a case-by-case basis, as may be occa­sioned by inevitable cir­cum­stan­tial occur­rences. 5) Exer­cis­ing our inher­ent rights to dis­pense with our sov­er­eign pur­suits direct­ly and our rights to ini­ti­ate, be part of and spear head a polit­i­cal cause.

6) Cog­nizant that the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya, 2010, jeal­ous­ly and mag­nan­i­mous­ly guar­an­tees us an audi­ence to ini­ti­ate amend­ments of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Kenya, 2010, direct­ly as a peo­ple through the pop­u­lar ini­tia­tive route.

Part C- Proposed amendments.

WE THE PEOPLE OF KENYA, cau­cus­ing under the insep­a­ra­ble and envi­able umbil­i­cal cord of patri­o­tism, and for all intents and pur­pos­es of writ­ing a bet­ter his­to­ry for, in the best inter­est and on behalf of our­selves and future gen­er­a­tions, while being sen­si­tive to the com­mem­o­ra­tive leg­endary foot­prints of the fall­en leg­ends who were the trail blaz­ers of the foun­da­tion­al bas­tions of our nation­hood, do here­by declare our unequiv­o­cal dire desire and unflinch­ing resolve to pro­pose con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments, through a pop­u­lar initiative.

Pro­posed areas to look at for amend­ments among others:

(i) Lead­er­ship and Integrity.
(ii) Nation­al Elections.
(iii) The struc­ture of the Legislature.
(iv) Representation.
(v) The struc­ture of the Nation­al Executive
(vi) The struc­ture of devolution.
(vii) Inde­pen­dent Com­mis­sions and Offices.


  • PLO Lumum­ba
  • Ruth Mutha­mi
  • Mark Matun­ga
  • Chep­ngetich Knight
  • Isaac Kalua Green

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