September 29, 2020

Lobbyists warn Government Against Mutilating Constitution

Coast Civil Society organisations coordinator Nicholas Songora (centre) addressing journalists at a past function. Image: PETER KOMBE)

By PETER KOMBE

Email: thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

Coast Civil society lobby groups have warned the political elites against any move to amend chapter 4 of the constitution.

The lobbyists argue that chapter four of the constitution / Bill of Rights is the lifeline of Kenyans as it highlights fundamental freedoms and rights.

The lobbyists also want a full implementation of the constitution instead of amending sections of the same.

Addressing the media in Mombasa on Thursday, Coast Civil Society Coordinator Nicholas Songora blamed politicians calling for a change of the constitution saying they are driven by selfish interests.

Songora indicates that it is not the right time to amend sections of the constitution.

He  instead wants a full implementation of the supreme law of the land and adherence of the rule of law.

“As we mark katiba@10, the bid to change the constitution has a hidden agenda. This is a political tool by a few people to cling to power,” he claimed.

According to Songora the move is geared towards infringing on the rights of Kenyans.

The human rights defender points that civil society organisations in the coast region will stand in defence of any attempt to change the constitution.

He further slammed the government on claims of interfering with  the rights of Kenyans by dispersing peaceful protesters.

“This exercise of changing the constitution will never succeed. As human rights defenders we shall stand to oppose any move aimed at changing the  same” he said.

Speaking at a different function Coast Civil Societies Reference Group Chairperson Zedekiah Adika said with the promulgation of the constitution Kenyans hoped to live in a just, equitable and inclusive society.

Zedekiah Adika addressing the media at a past function. Image: (Courtesy)

Adika,  however, notes that the constitution has been hijacked by the political class who have betrayed the masses in what he terms as authoritarianism, corruption, and the contempt for the rule of law.

“Those entrusted with the document  have trampled on the constitution since 2013 and  therefore they cannot  lead a process towards amending the same.’

“We demand full  implementation and as ww consider the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) a  fraud,” he said.

He further accused the executive on claims of disobeying court orders and making appointments without involving the public.

Meanwhile, Haki Africa Executive director Hussein Khalid says lobbyists will not allow any attempt to amend the bill of rights.

Haki Africa Execeutive Director Hussein Khalid addrsssing the media at a past function. Image: (Courtesy)

He lauds the 2010 constitution saying it is one of the best documents in Africa.

“Politicians! Do not attempt to change the Bill of Rights. This is the heart of all Kenyans. We shall at all cost defend any attempt to change the bill of rights,” he warned.

On his part, the Human Rights Agenda Executive Director Yusuf Lule said Kenyans are not convinced that the constitution requires amendments 10 years down the line.

According to Lule, politicians calling on for a change of the constitution have a hidden agenda.

 “We are using a very polite language to tell our politicians but if they are not ready to heed our advice then…..,”  he said.

Another activist Grace Oloo appealed to leaders to avoid changing the constitution

Oloo pointed out there are key issues that the state should address instead of focusing on a change of the constitution 10 years down the line.

“We want the government to implement the constitution to the latter. ” she appealed.

On Thursday, the state was marking 10 years since the promulgation of the 2010 constitution.

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