Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has filed an advisory opinion in the Supreme Court asking the court to provide guidance on the amendment of the constitution following the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.
The opinion filed on Monday seeks guidance on whether a bill containing a proposed amendment should only be limited to an amendment of a single issue in the constitution and whether the national or county governments can be promoters of a popular initiative funded through public resources.
Addressing the press outside his office Kivutha said he sought the advisory because he believes a bill seeking an amendment of the constitution should only be limited to one issue to ensure the authority to change the constitution is not abused to replace or overhaul it.
The governor noted that the proposed BBI bill which contains 78 different issues for amendment will affect 13 out of the 18 chapters of the constitution and is tantamount to overhauling it.
“It also makes sure the public understands what issue is being amended, we are concerned that packing too many issues in a bill creates confusion and significantly compromises the public’s ability to fully participate,” he said.
On the issue of national or county governments amending the constitution through a popular initiative the governor said only ordinary citizens are allowed by the constitution to push for amendment through the initiative.
“We believe that the popular initiative route was a path preserved by the constitution for the people and not government or state officers because it will be unfair to the people who have limited resources and will also lead to wastage of public funds,” noted Kivutha.
The governor however said he was keen on receiving the opinion from the Supreme Court on the two issues before embarking on civic education of the proposed amendment.
“The opinion will ensure that we provide accurate and correct information to the public while consulting civic education on the proposed amendment,” said the governor.
Kivutha however declared to oppose the amendment saying such an initiative in a claw back on the gains made in acquiring the 2010 constitution.
“Those clamoring for the change of the constitution are only interested in getting power in the 2022 general elections and I will stand firm in opposing the amendment,” said the governor.
He noted that some of the contentious issues in the proposed amendment include an imperial presidency, one third gender rule, and establishment of a youth commission.
By Roselyne Kavoo