UPDATE ON THE PUNGUZA MIZIGO CAMPAIGN TOWARDS AMENDING OUR CONSTITUTION OF KENYA 2010
Today, we bring to the general Kenyan public an update on the PunguzaMizigo campaign as follows:
- Enhanced grounds why we must amend the Constitution: the signature collection form has expanded to 13 reasons based upon feedback from Kenyans in Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu, Samburu and Isiolo as well as online suggestions received at our party HQs. Kenyans are reiterating earlier reasons that include the following as per the form before you:
- How Many signatures so far? As of this morning, we had reached over 600, 000 signatures. The campaign is now taking a life of its own. It is no longer a party affair but a Kenyan affair. Kenyans are signing and endorsing regardless of their political persuasion.
- Endorsement by other political leaders: we commend and welcome the endorsement of this campaign by other leaders including the President, Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy, William Ruto and many other elected leaders like Hon. Moses Kuria, Didimus Baraza, Chris Wamalwa, Ayub Savula as well as the Secretary General of COTU, Francis Atwoli, diplomats, and some religious leaders. By welcoming all leaders to join this campaign, we are persuaded by the fact that our country is bigger than any of its political leaders and solving national problems must not be turned into acrimonious political and party campaigns. However, and even as we welcome aboard all political leaders, we caution that let us separate this initiative with the 2022 campaigns. The two are different; they are like water and oil.
- Role of the Media in shaping opinion and making Kenyans understandthis initiative: related to the above caution to the political class, we also ask of the media to stop re-directing the discourse around amending our Constitution into a political contestation between the always conflicting political class. We have noted with concern that in the recent past, media has incessantly reported and even personalized our campaign simply because some supposedly high profile politicians are now also speaking about it. We urge the media to be analytical, and as such, ask tough questions such as: what is really is being proposed by those other political leaders? How does it differ from the Thirdway-sponsored referendum? What is the benefit of each proposal to the common Kenyan? Let us make this an issue-based discussion rather than a personality-based discussion and or about 2022; or who shapes the politics of Kenya going forward.
- What does Punguza Mizigo really means to Kenyans in terms ofservice delivery? A majority of Kenyans now see the concept of Punguza Mizigo beyond the reasons contained in the signature form. They now see Punguza Mizigo from the context of services being delivered closer to them. They have experienced the burden of accessing education, health, water, medicine, food, security amongst other services from afar. They now want to see these services at their very doorsteps. It is for this reason that the campaign is proposing that the Ward be used as the unit of development rather than the Constituency.
- The drafting of the Constitutional Amendment Bill: this is already work in progress. Our drafting team is already re-drafting the affected provisions of the Constitution. Since this campaign is predicated on reducing the burden on Kenyans, our legal team is also identifying other areas in our Constitution that will fit within the theme of Punguza Mizigo. This includes how to manage the national debt; as well as to urge government to implement austerity measures to reduce the cost of running government.
- The referendum Question: we have also followed keenly how some people are already suggesting that Kenyans may have to vote on every issue at a referendum. We hold a contrary view. We would be suggesting that rather than complicate the referendum question, we should make it simple, that is, a YES (to the amended Constitution) or NO (to the Constitution as currently is). The choices should only be two: YES, or NO
- Public Support: We have received invitations from across the country to visit their respective constituencies, wards, counties, villages and communities to collect even more signatures. We have accepted these invitations. Our Secretariat is drawing a programme and plan of action to enable us come round to where you are. Meanwhile, we still urge all Kenyans with the means to endorse punguza mizigo online by simply visiting our website: thirdwayalliance.com/punguzamizigo
- We challenge Kenyans to support the process in a number of ways:
- volunteer to collect signatures in your community or locality. We also invite anyone wanting to volunteer to collect the signature forms from our HQs or use their smart phones to sign up those who don’t have smart phones; or simply download the form, sign and send it to our Party HQs on email: email@example.com
- Plan to attend a fund-raiser event in support of Punguza Mizigo to be organised by friends of Thirdway so that we may have the means and resources to visit as many parts of our country, if not all. We will also take that chance to give civic education on the PunguzaMizigo campaign. The date for this event shall be announced in due course.