Kenya — Uhuru, Ruto Differ on Constitutional Changes

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta is in support of the constitutional review, but his deputy is in strong opposition.
  • Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has even hinted at the possibility of marshaling his supporters to oppose any attempts to change the constitution.
  • Raila Odinga, has been very vocal on the need to affect changes on the current constitution.

Kenya is marking ten years this month since the promulgation of it’s current Constitution on 27th August 2010 with the mood in the country pointing to a possibility of new constitutional changes in the near future. Debate on whether the document should be changed or retained as it is has been rife in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a past function.

A section of Kenya’s top leadership is divided right across the middle. President Uhuru Kenyatta is in support of the constitutional review, but his deputy is in strong opposition of the same.

Kenyatta in Support

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, is in full support of the proposals that the country’s Constitution should be revised, hence be transformed into a better document. Kenyatta opines that the August 27, 2010 Constitution was adopted with the promise that its contents shall be improved upon in the future.

“Ten years later, the moment to improve on it is now. We must treat a constitution as a living document that must constantly adjust to emerging realities.” President Kenyatta said in an address to the nation on Wednesday last week.

“Ten years after our progressive Constitution, the moment calls us to do better. Instead of a ceasefire document that enforces a zero-sum game in which the winner takes it all, the moment calls us to create a constitutional order that will last long,” the President said. 

“On this, I want to emphasize that we must not take the populist path. Let us choose the bold route; that path that will assure Kenyans of sustained peace and security and shared economic prosperity,” the Kenyan head of state elaborated, while addressing the nation from statehouse Nairobi.

Deputy President Opposed

Interestingly though, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto is in opposition to the changes being suggested, and he has even hinted at the possibility of marshaling his supporters to oppose any attempts to change the constitution.

I don’t know what is being amended . . . to the best of my knowledge, this whole push is by leaders, not by the people. People at this moment are concerned about jobs, about their livelihoods,” Ruto said on Thursday.

Since Kenyatta’s popular handshake with the opposition chief Raila Odinga, the relationship between the president and his deputy hasn’t been cozy. Ruto has been openly opposing and defying his boss, the president.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga during the March 9 handshake at Harambee House.

Odinga in Support of Constitutional Changes

The nation’s main opposition chief, ODM party’s leader Raila Odinga, has been very vocal on the need to affect changes on the current constitution, and even previously held a series of rallies across the country in the popularization of the idea.

The rallies were dubbed “nobody can stop reggae,” and they were only halted by the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country. However, the veteran politician says that the clamor for the constitutional changes is still on, and he has even predicted that the referendum shall be conducted before the country’s next general elections scheduled for 2022.

“If there is need for a country to do a referendum, the country does it. It has been done in European countries, in civilised democracies. Why do Kenyans not want it? Why are we being told do it together with the General Election? That will not work. We will do it before the next General Election,” Odinga said on the 13th of this month.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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