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Economy

Ministries drafted in Uhuru, Raila push for Constitution change

Joseph Kinyua
Chief of Staff and Head of Civil Service, Joseph Kinyua. His order puts to question neutrality of public officers. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua has directed all government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to support the referendum push spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The push dubbed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has seen a team going around the country to collect views on possible changes to be made on the 2010 Constitution.

Mr Kinyua issued the directive in a July 29 circular.

“---to achieve this, MDA are expected to support the Building Bridges Initiative by implementing interventions aimed at promoting national unity and nationhood,” Mr Kinyua says in the circular, adding that all ministries and State corporations must ensure strict adherence to the requirement.

The circular copied to all Principal Secretaries, State House Comptroller, the Chief of Staff in the office of the deputy president and the Public Service Commission, calls to question the political independence and neutrality of public officers.

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Mr Kinyua effectively wants the MDAs to budget for BBI and develop targets for the same even though the political class is sharply divided over it with a section of politicians warning it could be of no consequence because the National Assembly never sanctioned it.

Last month, a parliamentary committee that is expected to oversee implementation of the BBI report dismissed the BBI task force as lacking in legal backing and framework.

The chairman of Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee Jeremiah Kioni also said that the BBI public hearings conducted since last year were illegal.

Political neutrality of the Executive is important especially after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) okayed over one million signatures gathered by Third Way Alliance in a separate push to amend the Constitution.

The Punguza Mizigo campaign by the party led by Mr Ekuru Akot submitted the signatures to IEBC in February 2018 for verification.

The Alliance seeks a Constitutional review to reduce the burden and cost of governance currently being borne by Kenyan taxpayers.

The Bill enjoys wide support in counties despite opposition from top politicians, according to Mr Aukot.

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