Chairman of Pan African Forum Dr David Matsanga has castigated the move which stopped President Uhuru Kenyatta’s divisive bid to make sweeping constitutional changes through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which opponents said was an attempt to widen his powers.
Matsanga who is also the Conflict resolution expert blamed the structural challenges of the current laws for allowing the clearance of 47 individuals to contest for the country’s presidency in August General Election.
“47 Presidential candidates in the type of economy that Kenya has today is unreasonable.I feel for you Kenyans after looking at the benefits and risks that go with the Presidential candidates on the ballot .That is why I have always said Kenya faces structural challenges and this is one of it where the Constitution allows almost the entire population to apply for Presidency” posed Matsanga
According to Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu, there is an overall upsurge in the number of independent candidates in this year’s polls, with 7,111 candidates expected to contest for various seats come August 9.
Nderitu has attributed the increase to heightened political awareness among the candidates in comparison to the 2017 polls.
“The increase is mostly because of awareness as compared to previous polls. A majority of them did not participate in the party primaries; they started applying before the primaries,” she said.
Last year, the High Court and the Court of Appeal struck down the proposed constitutional amendments, prompting the government to appeal.
But In a majority judgment this year in March,the Supreme Court whose ruling is final, upheld a finding by the lower courts that Mr Kenyatta initiated the changes through a constitutional provision exclusively reserved for ordinary citizens.
“People are the basic structure, not the buildings or institutions. The people own the Constitution and not the Judiciary or Executive or Legislature. Therefore, the people can amend, repair, or dismantle the structure and rebuild again.It’s not the duty of the Judiciary to tell Kenyans how many times they can amend the Constitution but we have no option but to respect their decision ” Matsanga added.
If the BBI amendments had succeeded, they would have led to the creation of 70 new parliamentary constituencies and establish several powerful new posts such as those of a prime minister, two deputies and an official leader of the parliamentary opposition.
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