I READ veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga’s comments on the clauses in the Constitutional Amendment Bill with great interest; particularly since some opposition political parties have rejected the provision in the Bill that would compel presidential candidates to garner 100 eligible voters per province for them to be eligible to file in their nominations (Daily Nation August 5, 2015).
Dr. Mwaanga goes to great lengths to establish the credibility of most of the clauses in the proposed constitutional Amendment Bill and that they were not new as they were in the old Draft Constitution that failed during the National Constitution (NCC).
The conclusion of his advice seems to be a common sense one, namely that the clauses were largely agreed but that it was important for the political leadership to consult widely so that there was consensus on the mode of enacting the new Constitution in a phased manner. Considering that Dr Mwaanga advocated this view, one wonders why some opposition parties should cry foul over the need for 1,000 supporters.
Apart from the obvious – that some opposition parties are of regional character or one- man political parties that emerge from the cobwebs of political irrelevance on the day of the presidential nominations. Political commentators would have us believe that for a credible opposition to emerge there is need to weed out the chaff and let the credible ones grow, the 1,000 supporters requirement will truly sieve jokers and opportunists from serious political leaders.
The spirit of the clause being introduced is one of subtleties and differentiations and I wish more of its kind were discussed in the public realm.
It looks specifically at the consequences of the constitutional reform, not the consequence of the mode of enacting the new Constitution.
These are two different constitutional questions and albeit connected but are not the same.