Kenyan Legislator Wants Constitutional Amendment to Extend Uhuru Kenyatta’s Term Limits

Kenyan Legislator Wants Constitutional Amendment to Extend Uhuru Kenyatta’s Term Limits

A former Kenyan legislator has said she will push for a new constitutional amendment that could allow President Uhuru Kenyatta to extend his legal mandate and run for a third term in 2022.

Joyce Wanjala Lay, former Taita Taveta woman representative in a series of Tweets shared on her feed, she justifies her push with claims that “Kenya is more safer with him (Kenyatta) than anyone else. He means well but People are bitter and they speak so negative about the President.”

According to the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 142 on Term of office of President:

(1) The President shall hold office for a term beginning on the date on which the President was sworn in, and ending when the person next elected President in accordance with Article 136 (2) (a) is sworn in.

(2) A person shall not hold office as President for more than two terms.

Her sentiments come in the wake of the Building Bridges Initiative which also retained the term limit of the president to two terms. 

However, Lay, she poses various questions that have been within the country’s domain:

How long does it take to implement the constitution? What do we need? If it’s war against corruption, where are we now? Same with war against terrorism and drug abuse. Who stole Public Funds? Who brought toxic maize to the country? Who were the true Anglo Leasing, Goldenburg?

We still have wounds in Kenya, people are hungry, dying with cancer that was caused by greedy leaders.

“If anyone of them wants to lead this country then let them give this country all the answers. Who owns what land? How did they acquire it? How many people don’t own land and when are they going to be given their right? How are we getting full clean water coverage? How long?

“The President should lead the country in steering us to true love and unity. There is plenty in this nation and that’s why he doesn’t understand why we are broke. He knows what Kenyans want and he is the son of a King. Our wealth is with them. Let us be strategic,” she says.

David Ndii,  Managing Director of Africa Economics in response to the Legislator said “I’m glad you’ve brought up land injustice and asked Uhuru to “recover everything that belongs to us” because he has opportunity to lead by example as regards the 30,000 (or is it 50k?) acres his parents stole from your people (btw I brought it up with him once 😳).”

Similarly, Martha Karua, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and who also serves as theNational Rainbow Coalition–Kenya (NARC Kenya) leader on the BBI report, she said, “Much of the report consists of suggestions to better our country which can be acted upon without any constitutional amendments save for leadership positions.” 

“The term limit is to ensure that nobody presides over the government for more than two terms. Martha Karua

“Our manipulation of appointments leads to the infirmities that afflict almost all our critical institutions. Refusal to uphold & defend the constitution and the rule of law is the problem,” she said on her social feed. 

On November 23, she said she supports President Uhuru to finish his term. However, “Those thoughts are totally unconstitutional,” she said.

“The term limit is to ensure that nobody presides over the government for more than two terms. If you have to amend to get a Prime Minister who has been a head of government, it cannot be…,” she said.

From the BBI report,  to be a prime Minister, within a set number of days following the summoning of Parliament after an election, the President shall appoint as Prime Minister, an elected Member of the National Assembly from a political party having a majority of Members in the National Assembly or, if no political party has a majority, one who appears to have the support of a majority of MPs.

The nominee for Prime Minister shall only assume office when his or her appointment is first confirmed by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by an absolute majority vote of MPs.

If the Prime Minister nominee is not confirmed, the President shall have another set number of days to make another appointment.

This process shall continue until there is a successful nomination for Prime Minister.


Timothy Mtambo, chairperson of the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) in Malawi in 2015 during the SADC Lawyers Association General Assembly, he said “African leaders should ultimately be assessed by their commitment to enhance the values of democracy, and justice for the victims of serious crimes- not by their unrepentant efforts at nurturing the culture of impunity at the expense of the rights of the citizens. The notion that political power can be a safe haven for impunity would create dangerous double standard.”

 In Africa, many leaders have stained in power through an amendment to the constitution to scrap term limits.

UGANDA 

President Yoweri Museveni has ruled since 1986, a term-limiting clause that would have prevented him from seeking re-election was deleted from the constitution in 2005.  In 2017, lawmakers voted to remove a constitutional limit on the age of presidential candidates, paving the way for him to vie again in the 2021 election.

TOGO 

President Faure Gnassingbe has served since 2005 and he is bound to stay in power until 2030 after the country changed its constitution in 2019 to cap the presidential mandate at two five-year terms. The new law does not take into account the time already served.

RWANDA 

President Paul Kagame extended his rule after  Rwandans voted in 2015 to allow him to seek another seven-year term and two five-year terms. This means he will likely remain in power until 2034. He won a third term in 2017.

IVORY COAST 

President Alassane Ouattara has been in power since 2010. However, with a new constitution in 2016, allows him to run for a third term in the 2020 presidential race. His initial terms don’t count. 

GUINEA 

President Alpha Conde’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020,  but he has requested his government to review and draft a new constitution, that would be a platform to run once more. He was first elected in 2010.

DJIBOUTI 

President Ismail Omar Guelleh has won two elections and the approval of a constitutional amendment in 2010 allows him to run once again for a third term since coming into power in 1999.

CONGO REPUBLIC 

Denis Sassou Nguesso has ruled Congo Republic since 1979. In 2015, through a referendum, term and age limits that would have excluded him from running allowed him to win in the 2016 election. 

CHAD

President Idriss Deby is set to rule until 2033  after a 2005 referendum removed a two-term limit from the constitution. With new elections scheduled for 2o21, Parliament approved a new constitution in 2018 that would allow him to serve once more.

BURUNDI 

President Pierre Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005 and with a 2018 referendum that approved changes that extended the length of presidential terms to seven years, it means he will serve until  2034.