- Mr. Odinga said, "it is a high level of hypocrisy to oppose reform, but when it was approved it did not satisfy them."
- On the proposal for a referendum to be held in conjunction with the 2022 general election, Mr. Odinga said that would create a lot of confusion for voters.
- He said changes to the Kenyan Constitution had taken a long time to be implemented, while other countries did so a few months after the ratification.
Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has said a good constitution is one that can be amended to meet the needs of citizens and residents of the country. He also expressed his surprise at some leaders and politicians who, in his view, are opposed to changes to the current and approved 2010 Constitution.
The former Prime Minister, in an interview with NTV television owned by Nation Media Group (NMG), said those who opposed the constitutional amendment were “those who claimed it was not good.” Mr. Odinga said, “it is a high level of hypocrisy to oppose reform, but when it was approved it did not satisfy them.”
The opposition leader, who is currently working closely with the Jubilee government, after a reconciliation greeting between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta, in March 2018, said those who opposed change were driven by selfish ambitions.
“Those who oppose the constitutional amendment are the same ones who opposed the adoption of 2010. That is a high level of hypocrisy and I say that they are driven by greed and selfishness,” Mr. Odinga told NMG Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu.
Odinga made the statement following Mr. Mutuma’s question on the proposed constitutional amendment, in the recommendations of the BBI’s reconciliation commission report.
Despite the COVID-19 catastrophe disrupting and suspending many activities, including the BBI mobilization, the ODM leader said he did not see any obstacles in preparing for the referendum to amend the current constitution, before the end of 2020.
On the proposal for a referendum to be held in conjunction with the 2022 general election, Mr. Odinga said that would create a lot of confusion for voters. “The election involves six seats, adding a referendum will create a lot of confusion,” he explained.
He said changes to the Kenyan Constitution had taken a long time to be implemented, while other countries did so a few months after the ratification. “The American constitution was amended a few months after it was approved, in effect, in France. Our [Kenya] is being reformed 10 years later,” Raila said. He noted that the targeted change is aimed at improving the lives of the people.
Since Handisheki took place in March 2018, relations between President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, have been deteriorating. Reconciliation led to the emergence of a “Kieleweke” faction based on the side of President Kenyatta and Mr. Raila, and a “Tangatanga” faction on the side of the Deputy President.
Dr. Ruto’s supporters have been complaining about the exclusion of the Deputy President from government affairs, claiming that Raila is the root cause of the cracks in the ruling Jubilee wing.
In addition, “Tangatanga” has been questioning the legitimacy of the BBI, with officials saying the commission was set up to quell Dr. Ruto’s dream of entering the State House in 2022. The group has also opposed the proposal to hold a referendum, saying changes could be made to parliament.
Constitutional changes can be made in three ways: through parliament, the Office of the President, and through a referendum involving every citizen.