Now Kenya's Nasa pushes for new governance structure

Saturday February 10 2018

Nasa leaders (from left) Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang'ula

Nasa leaders (from left) Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang'ula at a media briefing in Nairobi on February 1, 2018. The opposition wants a fresh presidential election held in August. PHOTO | NMG 

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Kenya’s opposition coalition National Super Alliance announced it would push for a national referendum to propose a new governance structure even as the government continued to crack down on politicians and individuals linked to the swearing-in of its leader Raila Odinga as the “people’s president.”

The crackdown included the deportation of a key ally of Mr Odinga, Dr Miguna Miguna (who was born in Kenya but later acquired Canadian citizenship), arresting and charging in court of opposition politicians, confiscation of opposition leaders’ firearms and revocation of passports and withdrawal of state security from the coalition’s leaders.

In parliament, the opposition boycotted the vetting of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet appointees, which proceeded with only MPs from the ruling Jubilee and its allied parties.

Nasa released its roadmap, which includes electoral reforms, restructuring the executive authority and strengthening of devolved units, culminating in a fresh presidential election in August.

Its organising committee says the apex of the roadmap will be the National People’s Convention to be held at the end of February, where the delegates will discuss these issues and refer them to a referendum.

Dr David Ndii, a strategist for Nasa, told The EastAfrican that the opposition would use the “power of the people” to push its agenda through.

“It’s a people process, not a state process. We expect no co-operation from the state actors. This is how we got our current Constitution. We started with a people-driven process and this forced the state to come to the table.”

The Elections Act provides that whenever there is a need to hold a referendum, the President shall by notice refer the issue to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. The Commission shall frame the question(s) and in consultation with the Speaker present them before the National Assembly for approval.

The Commission shall then publish the approved question(s) in the Kenya Gazette and in the electronic and print media. The referendum shall be held within 90 days of publication of the question(s).

Asked how Nasa would push through a referendum without going through parliament, where it is the minority, Dr Ndii said: “We are not doing legal things, we are doing legitimate things.”

Dr Ndii, whose passport was revoked, said the government was doing things outside the law in a bid to restore a one-party state.

The Nasa committee maintained that the swearing-in that was opposed by the government and other foreign missions led by the US Embassy, was in response to electoral fraud.

“The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at the behest of Jubilee defied the Supreme Court and failed to conduct a free, fair and credible election. Instead the IEBC organised a coronation ritual for Uhuru Kenyatta boycotted by over two-thirds of the Kenyans who voted on August 8,” reads the coalition’s statement.

Besides closing three major private TV stations — NTV, Citizen and KTN — for a week after they started airing the swearing-in live, the government intensified the crackdown against the opposition through arrests, withdrawal of official security of all Nasa MPs, and those of Mr Odinga and his deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka.