President Uhuru Kenyatta’s initial objective of unifying the country with the famous handshake on March 9th could be at risk following his latest directives to his lieutenants.
According to reliable sources close to The Star Newspaper,President Kenyatta has shunned talks of constitutional amendments within his circles,his reasoning being it could polarise instead of unify the country.
Sources in the presidency further reveal that Uhuru believes Raila’s push for constitutional changes is undermining their unity deal, even before a committee mandated to drive its agenda reports back.
The steering committee led by lawyer Paul Mwangi and ambassador Martin Kimani met last week in Naivasha to draw up its terms of reference and programme of action.
“The advisers expect to travel to different parts of the country and to engage with different audiences in the coming days and weeks,” it said in a statement last week.
He has repeatedly told his advisers that he does not want politics to obstruct his Big Four legacy agenda — food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing.
According to reliable sources within the presidency, Uhuru had shunned the ongoing debate on a referendum to avoid being seen as violating the spirit of the handshake.
He has fought off pressure from his allies to speak out against Raila’s drive for constitutional reforms, which has faced strident opposition from a wing of his party.
“President Kenyatta was mute on the clamour for amendment of the laws because if he speaks openly against it, he puts the handshake in jeopardy,” one trusted source said.
“Every signature project in the first term was subject to endless litigation and a plethora of injunctions with the threat of investors scampering away from the country due to instability occasioned by violence,” the source added.
But last week, the President broke his silence, sending a blunt message to Raila and those supporting his call for a referendum.
While addressing the private sector on partnership opportunities with the government on the Big Four agenda, Uhuru made clear where his focus lies.
“I have no time to run around telling people to change the Constitution. It won’t solve the problems we have. But engaging with the private sector on manufacturing like we are doing (I) will,” Uhuru said on Friday last week (May 18).
It was the first time that Uhuru was speaking out on the proposed changes, having previously only hinted at them in his speeches.
“It is important to emphasise that unity doesn’t mean unanimity,” the President had said during the State of the Nation address on May 2.
His statement on Friday appeared triggered by the crescendo of agitation for and against constitutional amendments, and fears among the business community that the country was returning to political contests.
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