Different religious leaders are continuing to pile pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga to have a national dialogue on the proposed Constitutional amendments through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Early this month, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) called for a national dialogue to ensure that Kenyans’ concerns on BBI are taken into account before a referendum is held.
“It is for this reason that the Dialogue Reference Group of which the NCCK is a member, has consistently urged for various measures to inclusion,” said NCCK Secretary General Canon Chris Kinyanjui.
Among the latest to join the call for a national dialogue is outspoken city Pastor Godfrey Migwi, who says that Uhuru and Raila should ensure that Kenyans get copies of the draft first.
“President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Hon Raila Odinga don’t push BBI to us by force like it came from Heaven, give me and my mother in the village a copy to read and understand what is within (sic),” says Migwi.
Migwi also wants the government to address food shortage in the country, before embarking on a referendum.
“So Mr president and your elder brother before promising us anything else remember many Kenyans need food, shelter and safety , and this is the the best in life, Mr president and your deputy good to remember this was part of big 4 agenda,” he added.
NCCK opined that the appointment of an Ombudsman to Judiciary would tamper with its independence, the same with a council for the National Police Service.
Catholic Bishops and a section of human rights groups have recently cautioned Kenyans against supporting the initiative fronted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner, saying they have reservations about the imperial presidency, a bloated Parliament and a conflicted electoral commission under the BBI report.
However, Mr Odinga over the weekend accused a section of leaders of spreading propaganda over the BBI report.
“I have been very much part of the struggle for reforms and change and will never be a party to any amendment that will recreate an imperial presidency,” said Mr Odinga.
He said that a Judiciary Ombudsman appointed by the President, will create a place for Kenyans to channel their grievances against Judges if any need arises.
“This is where Kenyans will go and raise their complaints. How independent the Ombudsman will be if appointed by the Chief Justice?” he posed.
In a statement this week, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops said “To give the President the power to appoint a Prime Minister and two Deputies risks consolidating more power around the president thereby creating an imperial presidency.”
Pro-BBI MPs will kick off the exercise to collect one million signatures this week for a referendum set for early next year.