Kenya: Political Parties-Based Forum CMD Calls for Review of Referendum Law

4 December 2019

Nairobi — The Center for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) has urged parliament to enact a referendum law to guide the constitutional review process.

Speaking during an event held in a city hotel on Wednesday, CMD Chairperson Senator Abshiro Halake (Nominated) acknowledged reforms in the newly released Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report will necessitate constitutional change.

"We wish to urge the adoption of a consultative approach and unity of purpose in diversity with regard to the ongoing public discourse around the proposed reforms," she said.

The legislator pointed out that Kenyans should be given an opportunity to decide on any constitutional change.

She further cautioned that the composition of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) could precipitate a crisis considering the resignation of four out of the seven commissioners appointed to serve in the electoral agency's board.

Halake highlighted comprehensive electoral reforms which she said must be fast tracked as the 2022 election nears.

"Immediate and comprehensive reforms will ensure that an accurate and verifiable principle register of voters is prepared in good time," she said.

The organization affirmed the need for the country to re-think about the electoral system that can reduce negative political competition, negative ethnicity, reduce gender gaps in leadership and governance to guarantee electoral justice.

CMD recommended a proper funding regime to political parties to enable them undertake their roles in a bid to spur democracy.

The civil society group urged Kenyans and other stakeholders to critically review the BBI report with a view of identifying and amplifying constitutional, policy, legal, and administrative reforms that are necessary for the country.

"Kenya needs to deal with the issues identified in the report once and for all, isolate the issues that require administrative and policy directive for immediate action," she said.

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