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We are not ready for a referendum

Since Uhuru Kenyatta took over the reigns of power most of my articles have been in the favour of the opposition because I believe that as a member of the fourth estate we have a duty to keep the government of the day in check to ensure that it delivers on it’s pledges and obligations to the citizens.

One of such obligations is ensuring that the devolved governance which is enshrined in the constitution is given the necessary support to take root and bring services closer to the people as was intended.

We all would love to see the devolved systems functioning efficiently and being that this is the first time Kenya is doing this, there was bound to be teething problems. Some may be occasioned by unforeseen transition challenges while others are purely malicious attempts by operatives out to undermine the county governments.

Is a referendum the solution?

Just take a stroll on facebook and twitter and look at the chatter on some of these popular facebook pages and twitter handles or hashtags discussing this topic and you will see just how divided this country is.

We are just coming from a very hotly contested general election which albeit was free from violence, had a lot of ethnic undertones running alongside it if the voting patterns is anything to go by. We are yet to heal from the process and taking us through another election process before the wounds created during the period prior to the elections are allowed to heal will drive us into a violent eruption that will make the 2008 PEV look like a Christmas party.

This is however not just about fear of violence, those pushing for the referendum are also not doing so in good faith. We are just four months into these government and we are just testing how the devolved systems work. If we took our electorate to a referendum today what will they be voting for?

Wouldn’t it be better to let three or four years pass so that we know what really works and what doesn’t so that when we decide to change the laws governing devolution we will be doing so from a very informed position otherwise we might find ourselves having a referendum every other day because we will hurriedly change one law then midway in implementation we realize that we dint factor in something and we need another referendum.

In 1963 when Kenya gained her independence we had a very good constitution but several amendments down the  road we were having to deal with a constitution we all loathed with a passion and had to loose lives before it was changed. If we do not protect this constitution from needless amendments we will end up reversing the benefits we gained in October 2010.

To me the CORD leaders pushing for the amendments are not doing so in good will but taking advantage to the teething problems within implementation of the devolution framework to create a platform through which they gain political relevance ahead of the next general elections.

It is time such leaders to realize that there is more to this country than elections and Kenyans across the political divide believe that it is rather premature to go this way. Yes devolution has it’s problems but we are still learning and we will perfect it with time and customize it to our needs as they arise.

                                            Follow me on Twitter @IamOmindeWe


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