NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyans for now would not be
bombarded by calls to change constitution or the current
structure of government, a debate that had been gathering
The push to amend the constitution was
threatening to split the country into two opposing groups,
raising the political temperatures.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga was the key pillar behind the
push to change the constitution, with the veteran politician
rooting for a three-tier system of government.
On the opposite site was Deputy President William Ruto who
had dismissed the change agents as self-seekers, with his
supporters accusing Odinga of pushing for amendments to block
Ruto from succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
The rivalry had threatened to shake the current political
stability achieved after Odinga and Kenyatta signed a truce on
March 9 following divisive polls last year.
Kenyatta in the last two weeks has been able to mollify the
two camps by publicly speaking against the debate and reaching
out to the two groups, forcing both Ruto and Odinga to retreat.
Odinga on Saturday announced that he would wait for advice
from a 14-member team he picked with Kenyatta to assess ways on
how to unite the country.
The team that was gazetted last week by the government has
one year to complete its work.
Ruto, on the other hand, has promised to stop politicking in
relation to the constitution and succession politics.
Many Kenyans have welcomed the move, noting it would help
create an environment for the country’s economy to grow.
"What we want as the youth of this country is jobs or income
generating activities which can not be created if we politic
all-through," Caroline Khakasa, a peer educator with a
non-governmental organisation in Nairobi, said Sunday.
Khakasa noted that the country was facing many challenges,
including rampant corruption, unemployment, ethnic divisions and
poverty, which can not be tackled in a charged political
"You can not confront corruption if leaders are raising the
"Some will start claiming their communities are targeted
curtailing the fight," she said.
According to Khakasa, the debate on the constitution had
provided the right environment and fodder for politicians to
politick on succession politics.
Richard Mutuku, an opposition supporter, lauded Odinga for
choosing to stop the debate.
"He started it and now that he has retreated, I don’t think
it would go on.
"The country for once is going to focus on other key issues,"
Mutuku, however, noted that when the appropriate time comes,
the debate should happen for constitution to be amended.
One of the reasons pointed out for change of constitution is
that the current structure has entrenched exclusivity and ethnic
Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer and political analyst,
credited Kenyatta for Odinga and Ruto retreat.
"He knows that if the debate continues, he would not be able
to complete his development projects and, therefore, cement his
legacy," he said, adding Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda need
political stability for implementation.
Under the Big Four Agenda, Kenyatta is seeking to implement
projects to boost food security, affordable housing, create jobs
though the manufacturing sector and roll out affordable
Wandera noted a politically charged environment is not good
for business, with the current tranquility helping the shilling
grow by about one per cent against the dollar since March 9.
"The clamor for constitution change had come too early after
"Kenyatta has done well to extinguish it but all said, we
need constitution amendment especially on the executive
structure," he said.