Reforms Must Be People Driven

Reforms Must Be People Driven

Press Statement

Isaiah 10: 15

Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it? As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood!

Preamble

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has held a consultative meeting here at Christian Students’ Leadership Center, Ufungamano House, to reflect on the anticipated governance and electoral reforms proposed in the report of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) that was recently passed by Parliament and earmarked for implementation.

We have assessed the nine (9) Bills that are being processed by the National Assembly, and taken into consideration the age-old definition of Democracy: A government of the people, by the People, for the People.

With this in mind, we now share the following message with the people of Kenya:

1.         Validate the NADCO Report

Article 1 of the Constitution of Kenya clearly states that all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya, and is exercised either directly or through democratically elected representatives. The state organs are of themselves required to act in accordance with the Constitution.

For this reason, it is of absolute necessity that the Report of the National Dialogue Committee be taken to the people of Kenya for validation before it is implemented. The people of Kenya have a basic right to know and agree with the recommendations made by the NADCO. It would be very deceptive for the National Assembly to unilaterally implement decisions that radically affect the governance and electoral environment of the Kenyans.

Towards this, we call upon Hon Moses Wetangula and Hon Amason Kingi, the speakers of National Assembly and Senate, to have the report published in a manner accessible to all Kenyans. Secondly, the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee should hold sittings in the Counties to receive feedback from Kenyan citizens, and thereafter review the Palriamentary Bills attendant to the NADCO report to reflect the wishes of the people.

We urge all our Members of Parliament and Senators to always remember the warning of God in Isaiah 10: 1 – 2

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar?

2.         Constitution Review should be People Driven

Recognizably, the National Dialogue Committee was established as a platform to negotiate political compromise to a crisis the politicians had conjured up in their perpetual struggle for power and money. It is therefore a major concern for Kenyans that the National Assembly is seeking to effect the recommendations of the Committee, especially a massive review of the Constitution, without a recourse to the people of Kenya.

We wish to remind all Kenyans that between 1963 and 2010, the Constitution of Kenya was amended 39 times. The result of those amendments was the injustice and political space suppression that Kenyans fought bitterly to reverse, leading to the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

It is therefore a very major red flag for Kenyans that The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2023 drafted as part of the NADCO report is seeking to amend 25 articles and add 6 new ones in the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

Kenyans shed their blood to demand that review of the 1963 must be people driven. The same was emphasized by the Supreme Court of Kenya when the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill was declared unconstitutional. Why is the Parliament choosing to follow the same route once again?

It is our firm position that any debate about amending the Constitution in Parliament must be preceded by robust discourse by the citizens of Kenya.

3.         End the Breach of the Constitution

The National Council of Churches of Kenya is shocked at the blatant and callous manner in which the National Executive and Parliament are breaching the same Constitution they swore to implement and protect. We reiterate that the failure to constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is breaching the rights of the people of Kenya in the following ways:

One, the timelines for boundaries review have been breached, and Kenya is currently in a constitutional crisis in that regard.

Two, the National Assembly and the Senate are unconstitutional to the extent that they have not adhered the two thirds gender rule.

Three, citizens in Banissa and Lagdera constituencies, as well as Nyamaiya, Kisa East, Lakezone, and  Chewani Wards have been denied the right of representation  due to lack of an IEBC to conduct elections.

Four, the citizens of Kisii County have been denied the right to have a Deputy Governor since there is no IEBC to gazette the appointment of the one picked by the Governor.

These violations call for concerted efforts by all actors to fast track the reconstitution of the IEBC.

Secondly, we call upon the Attorney General to apply for an advisory opinion from the Supreme Court of Kenya on what should be done to deal with the failure to adhere to constitutional timelines for review of boundaries of electoral units.

4.         Electoral Reforms Towards 2027

Having considered the governance and electoral reforms outlined in the Bills arising from the NADCO Report, we are of the considered opinion that some leaders are working towards subverting the will of the people.

We call upon all Kenyans to actively read and comment on the 9 Bills presented in the NADCO report and to demand that electoral reforms be focused on improving governance, accountability and legitimacy by:

One, securing peaceful, free, fair and credible elections

Two, safeguarding the performance and credibility of electoral institutions

Three, improving the participation and representation of the youth, women and persons with disabilities in elective bodies.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we urge all Kenyan to arise and stand for justice and fairness. As Kenyans we should not surrender our country and our sovereignty to the whims of politicians. Let us always stand for justice for all, just as the Bible tells us in Micah 6: 8

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Signed on this 9th day of April 2024 at Ufungamano House, Nairobi.

Rev Dr Alphonse Kanga

Chairman, NCCK Nairobi Region

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

General Secretary

May 2024
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  • Address: 3rd Fr, Jumuia Place, Lenana road, Nairobi
  • Address: P. O. Box 45009 – 00100, Nairobi
  • Tel: 254202721249
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