CMD-Kenya was on 1st November 2018 invited for consultations by the Building Bridges to Unity Advisory Task Force. CMD-Kenya Chairperson Hon. Omingo Magara addressed and submitted a memorandum on behalf of the 22 member political parties.
“Our position is that there is need to utilize this opportunity and institute a structured, people-centered and all-inclusive national dialogue process,” CMD-Kenya Chairperson Hon. Omingo Magara told the task force set up to lead the national dialogue and reconciliation agenda in the country following the hotly contested and divisive presidential elections in in 2017.
On 9th March 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga held a meeting and outlined in a Joint Communique, 9 issues that they declared needed to be resolved in order to strengthen Kenya’s democratization process, stability, cohesion and unity.
“The Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation is premised on the fact that Kenya has made progress towards consolidating its democratic landscape, but much still remain to be done in addressing underlying challenges that threaten the political, social and economic standing of the country”, submitted Hon. Magara. The CMD-Kenya Chairperson emphasized the need to reconsider electoral system and deepening devolution as critical pillars the stability and development of Kenya.
He said: “By and large, the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system has raised stakes in electoral competition particularly presidential elections. It is the basis for the country’s ethnic mobilization of voters, divisive politics and heightened sense of discrimination especially in public appointments at National and County levels.”
Other issues highlighted in the CMD-Kenya memorandum to the task force include strengthening devolution, reforming the Elections Management Bodies and actualizing the campaign financing law. CMD-Kenya observed that devolution can enhance government responsiveness to the needs of the citizens and provide accountability at the local level, for resources spent through the offices of the county assemblies. Devolution also serves to diffuse the all-or-nothing character of Kenyan politics – a direct cause of electoral violence in Kenya in the past – as it offered those who lose presidential elections, consolation with county wins.
“One major reason to strengthen devolution is the high levels of poverty and unemployment, especially among youth in the rural areas that provide fertile ground not only for extremism but also for organized crime and ethno-political mobilization,” stated Hon. Magara
While the national dialogue and reconciliation agenda may arise reason for constitutional changes, CMD-Kenya noted the need for a Constitution audit with reference to the extent the Constitution has responded to the wishes and aspirations of Kenyans. Moreover, the audit should assess the social, political and economic impacts of implementing the Constitution with emphasis on whether these impacts are consistent with the objectives that the Constitution set out to achieve.