President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended his initiative with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga to implement the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as “an urgent task that Kenyans cannot ignore.”
In his eighth Annual State of The Nation Address to the Joint Parliamentary Sitting, President Kenyatta said that political stabilisation is a continuous process that every administration must apply their minds to and secure.
“The need for political stabilisation is the most urgent task facing Kenya today, and it is the foundation upon, which our greater justice, fairness, health, wealth, and security will be built on. For that reason, it shall happen,” he said.
The BBI process was nullified by the High Court in a ruling that was later upheld by the Appeals court before its proponents moved to the Supreme Court where the matter is still pending.
On Tuesday, Kenyatta reiterated his stance that Kenya is staring at a constitutional moment as he explained that political stabilization doctrine is what guided his March 2018 handshake with Odinga
“Our country has been in a constitutional moment since the 2017 election. The only question is what we should do with that constitutional moment. If we do not embrace it, how will it return to punish our nation? And if we embrace it, who are the winners and losers of that moment? That is the National Question before us today,” he posed.
The Head of State regretted that by declaring the government backed Bill was illegal and unconstitutional, the courts had denied over 5 million registered voters an avenue that will end the winner-take-all structure of Kenyan politics, which is often followed by deadly violence.
“The people spoke regarding the First Amendment…the Record of Parliament attests to the fact that the people wanted constitutional change, but a few individuals sat in a backroom somewhere and they decided otherwise,” he said.
President Kenyatta enumerated three key losses that he felt the country lost as a result of the nullification, top on the list is the loss of equity in resource allocation which would have seen counties receive Sh562 billion instead of the Sh316.5 billion allocated to them in the budget.
The President cited proportional representation as the second loss the country has faced.
“Proportionality is about the equitable distribution of resources amongst all groups. And on this, we were keen on proportional gender balance, among other things,” he stated.
The Head of State said that the expansion of the National Executive to accommodate a broader face of Kenya and expand representation was the third loss that Kenyans missed out on.
He explained that if the amendment had been adopted, Kenya would have constitutionalized the end of the winner-takes-all outcome of elections that creates so much toxicity and tension as observable in the elections of 1992, 1997, 2007, 2013, and 2017.