Musyoka backs referendum bid, defends Senate
Mr Musyoka said: “If you have to amend the Constitution, I believe it should be about now. But if you ask me about scrapping the Senate, I will disagree.
Leader also defends meeting with Uhuru where he presented nine-point agenda, saying it was purely developmental oriented.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka Wednesday supported calls for constitutional review, even as he opposed a bid to scrap the Senate.
Mr Musyoka, who spoke after opening the third African Political Summit, defended his meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday, saying it was purely developmental oriented.
“If you have to amend the Constitution, I believe it should be about now. But if you ask me about scrapping the Senate, I will disagree. If anything, let us strengthen it; make it the upper House because that is where you have serious debate,” Mr Musyoka said.
In the State House meeting, Mr Musyoka was accompanied by a delegation of about 30 elected leaders, among them Senators, MPs, County Speakers and Majority Leaders of his Wiper party.
He presented a nine-point agenda which he said would spur development in Upper Eastern region if implemented. The projects Mr Musyoka wants implemented include upgrading of the Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Mwingi-Kandwia-Gatunga-Usueni road, Wikithuki Irrigation Scheme in Tseikuru, Kitui County, and construction of Tseikuru Airstrip. Mr Musyoka also wants work on the stalled Kiambere-Mwingi Water and Sanitation project to commence.
The Wiper leader made the remarks just a day after a group of MPs, led by Matungu’s Justus Murunga, called for dissolution of the Senate, the third such proposal this year alone.
The MPs instead called for creation of a committee on Devolution in the National Assembly to take care of the interests of county governments.
A number of women leaders, among them Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia, say they will support a referendum only if it will increase the positions reserved for women.
“Where is the voice of women in the call for constitutional changes? We need to say what needs to be changed in the Constitution,” Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said in the meeting attended by Prof Kobia at a Nairobi hotel.
Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris said: “We should not be talking about reducing positions for women. We already fought for these positions in 2010.” Council of Governors (CoG) CEO Jacqueline Mogeni said: “We woke up early in the morning in 2010 to vote for the new Constitution and we know our space in it”.
Uasin Gishu County Member of Parliament Gladys Boss Shollei has already tabled a Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking to scrap the Woman Rep seat, while the Thirdway Alliance Kenya wants to reduce MPs from 417 to 194.