With 2022 general elections less than 2 years away, it has now emerged that Members of Parliament aligned to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have begun concerted effort to seek term extension by one year.
A report by the Sunday Standard says that MPs are deliberating on how to include a transition clause in the BBI report set to be handed over to the head of state.
In the move that is already receiving a backlash from Kenyans, the proposers of the plan argue that the coronavirus pandemic justifies the idea of one year term extension.
Sources who spoke to the Sunday Standard say that there is a plan already in place to introduce a clause in the yet to be received BBI report that will allow for a smooth transition when Uhuru retires.
BBI proponents argue that the president will need more time to prepare the country for a referendum and thereafter smooth incubation of new constitutional reforms.
While the Members of Parliament are not openly talking about asking for a one year term extension, those who spoke to the standard on condition of anonymity say that indeed there is secret plan to push for their terms to be extended.
Those in the know say that Raila’s party ODM who are the primary proponents of BBI have not formally held discussions on term extension, although the idea is already been mooted.
“We are faced with several issues and time is running out, so there is nothing wrong with exploring
alternatives because the changes to the constitution are necessary,” said an official who spoke to Standard reporters.
Proponents of term extension say that 2020 has been a wasted year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, constitutional experts are terming the idea of a term extension a far-fetched dream, since the constitution dictates that the president’s term can only be extended through a referendum or under exceptional circumstances such as war.
In such an event, the extension of term will need at least two thirds majority vote in both the Senate and the National Assembly.
“When Kenya is at war, Parliament may, by resolution supported in each House by at least two-thirds of all the members of the House, from time to time extend the term of Parliament by not more than six months at a time,” states the article.