Kenya: Thirdway Alliance in New Push for Constitutional Reforms

24 February 2020

Thirdway Alliance Party supporters in Nakuru County plan to collect at least 165,000 signatures to push for constitutional amendment through a referendum.

Mr Crispus Wathimba, the party coordinator in Nakuru said on Monday that they will mobilise at least 3,000 residents in 55 wards to raise the signatures.

INTENSIFY CAMPAIGNS

"Our game plan is to actively involve the residents at the grassroots, we intend to intensify our campaigns at the trading centres and all public gatherings," said Mr Wathimba.

He announced that the party will identify people to reach out to Kenyans.

"We are also exploring the social media platforms. 75 per cent of Kenyans are under the age of 35 and are highly interacting online and we shall use them to popularise our agenda and reach more people," added Mr Wathimba.

The official said the push for change of constitution should not be seen from one angle of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) only.

"The change of constitution and quest to unite Kenyans is not a preserve of BBI. The new version of Punguza Mizigo is also a key stakeholder and it is only fair the media gives equal space and air time to all competitors in this political arena," said Mr Wathimba.

CAMPAIGN

The official announced that the launch of the collection of signatures in Nakuru County will be done in mid-March.

"We have intensified our campaign on social media and recruitment of volunteers who will move from door to door to pupularise the improved version of Punguza Mizigo is ongoing," said Mr Wathimba.

He said the party is seeking to recruit 110 volunteers in all the 55 wards in the county to collect at least 3,000 signatures. At least a million signatures are required to amend the Constitution through a popular initiative. Mr Wathimba said the party has identified a ten-point agenda in their new drive for constitutional change.

This include strengthening devolution, enhancing inclusivity, reduction of the public wage bill, strengthening Parliament, enhancing integrity in leadership and achievement of gender balance.

The party is also rooting for a cheaper inclusive election, electoral justice, jump-starting the economy and ensuring fair distribution of resources.

"We expect feedback from Kenyans based on our ten-point agenda and after collecting their views we shall incorporate them because the party's main agenda is to have a cohesive nation," said Mr Wathimba.

SIGNATURES

After collecting views and signatures, the party will prepare a draft Bill that will be delivered to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for verification.

Once the IEBC gives the party a clean bill of health, the draft Bill will be presented to county assemblies for debate.

The Constitution requires that at least 24 county assemblies must vote to support the Bill in a time frame of three months after which it will be tabled in Parliament for further consideration.

A previous attempt by Ekuru Aukot-led party to push for change of Constitution through Punguza Mizigo Bill was rejected by most of the country's 47 county assemblies.

Only Machakos, Uasin Gishu and Turkana endorsed the Bill. However, Mr Wathimba said this time around, the party has devised new ways to push for the Bill.

"We have learnt our mistakes in the past launch of Punguza Mizigo Bill and this time we want to get it right and that is why we want the citizens to play a key role," said Mr Wathimba.

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