President William Ruto’s quest for constitutional changes received a major boost from religious leaders on Friday, December 16.
Clergymen under the umbrella of the Dialogue Reference Group asked Ruto to consider making the proposed constitutional changes in order to entrench stronger institutions.
In particular, the men of God expressed support for constitutional amendments that, if implemented, will see former Prime Minister Raila Odinga become Leader of the Official Opposition.
“We have taken note of the ongoing debate in the country and reiterate our position that the country requires dignified opposition as a measure of promoting accountability,” read a statement by the leaders.
Members of National Dialogue Conference at press release on December 16, 2022.
Dialogue Reference Group released a statement after deliberation at the Third National Dialogue Conference that was held at Ufungamano House in Limuru.
In the meeting, the caucus resolved to support a constitutional process that will guarantee a strong opposition.
They also advised President William Ruto to consider public participation before constitutional amendments are implemented.
Dialogue Reference Group warned Ruto that his plan could meet the same fate that befell Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) early 2022 when it was declared null and void.
“We recommend the president constitute a multi-sectoral task force to undertake an objective review of the implementation of the constitution. The principle of a people driven constitution review process must be maintained at all time, ” they added.
The religious leaders further asked the president to form a task force that will oversee the process of constitutional review.
Dialogue Reference Group wants a task force to collect public opinions in order for the government to make the process an all-inclusive one and allow total buy in.
According to the religious leaders, the government risks alienating the masses from the process.
President Ruto’s plan to create an office for Raila Odinga on Thursday, December 15, ran into fresh headwinds after the Law Society of Kenya threatened to shoot it down, raising concerns that the Head of State was in contravention of the law.
“We call upon Parliament to protect the Constitution and for the citizens of Kenya to rise up to the occasion.
“We call upon the Speaker of the National Assembly to note that the proposed amendments are unconstitutional.
“The amendments are being initiated by the President contrary to the decision in the BBI case and they should therefore not see the light of day. There is a clear precedent that has already been set by the courts on the matter,” LSK President Eric Theuri said in a statement.
President William Ruto (right) and DP Rigathi Gachagua during the Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.