Uhuru drums up support for constitutional changes


President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing a gathering during the launch of Boda Boda Investment Scheme. [Jonah Onyango/Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday rallied Kenyans to back the proposed constitutional changes, highlighting some of the clauses aimed at improving their livelihoods.

Kenyatta described the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report as a good document, citing the proposed seven-year tax holiday for the youth as well as a four-year grace period for Higher Education Loans Board beneficiaries as some changes aimed at supporting the mwananchi.

The president said it was his wish to have all political leaders rally behind the document ahead of the next General Election to avoid contestation that risked tearing the country apart.

He also defended the decision to transfer functions from Nairobi County to the national government, saying the changes were about improving services to the people.

“I want to urge you to read the BBI report. Don’t make it a political contest. If it is going to be of benefit to you like I believe it will, please support it. I believe the document has so many things that will change your life.”

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He allayed fears of an alleged plot to lock out certain politicians from running in the next election, saying the document would not take away voters’ right to elect their leaders.

Kenyatta made the remarks during the launch of the Boda Boda Investment Scheme at Pumwani Social Hall in Majengo.

He later addressed residents of Pumwani and Majengo neighbourhoods, drumming up support for the report that was handed to him and ODM leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday at Kisii State Lodge.

Yesterday’s popularisation campaign came one day after Kenyatta and Raila went to Kisumu and asked residents to back the report that will be launched officially on Monday at the Bomas of Kenya.

Election violence

“We want a country where we will remain united as one people. It is the Nairobi people who understand election violence,” Kenyatta said.

He reiterated that the famous March 9, 2018 Handshake has provided an enabling environment for economic growth. “Since the handshake, we have had peace. You people know how people were in this Nairobi; it was about you being from this tribe or the other. We want to live peacefully.”

He said Kenyans should rally behind the changes, adding that it would no longer be about those in power deciding where to take development projects.

“When we implement these proposals, there will be equity in resource sharing. It will not be about the president saying what you will get from the national cake.”

He said he would try to get all political leaders to agree on the document. “I don’t want a contest over this report. What I want is consensus so that we can have all the leaders on the same platform. I don’t know if I will succeed on that,” said the Kenyatta amid cheers from the crowd.

Deputy President William Ruto has expressed his opposition to plans to expand the Executive by creating more positions in government.

Kenyatta also asked Nairobians to back Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director-General Mohammed Badi, who has left Governor Mike Sonko with little to do. “I want to request you to support Badi because he is doing good work. If Nairobi improves it will be for everybody.”





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