Inside Politics

Senator Cherargei supports UDA MP’s push to scrap presidential term limit

Wednesday, November 9th, 2022 10:51 | By
Senator Cherargei supports UDA MP's push to scrap presidential term limit
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei at a past event. PHOTO/Courtesy

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has defended the push by Fafi Member of Parliament Salah Yakub to scrap the two-term presidential term limit.

Yakub, a member of the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, has proposed the removal of the 10-year limit and instead wants the age limit for contesting for the presidency capped at 75 years.

Senator Cherargei said on Wednesday, November 9, that if the proposal advances into a bill, he will support it in the Senate.

While criticizing those condemning the MP's proposal, including colleagues in the UDA party, the outspoken legislator said the MP is within his right to push for the amendment of the constitution.

"UDA is an epitome of democracy and rule of law. Hon. Salah Yakub is within his right to push this amendment. Let's listen first, I shall support [the Bill] in the Senate," Senator Cherargei said.

"This is a conversation that might happen in future by Kenyans on scrapping of term limit of a President," he added.

Yesterday, Yakub indicated he won't back down on his proposal despite a firestorm of backlash.

Yakub, while speaking to the media, stated that the presidential term limit debate is viable and that Kenyans should be ready for it either now or in the near future.

While maintaining that constitutionally-mandated two five-year terms are limited, Yakub said he is not advocating for lifetime service but enforcement of either an age limit of 75 years or removal through the ballot.

"I know we created some storm and these were statements I made while distributing food in Garissa. I want to make it clear that the suggestion has nothing to do with the current president, the government, or any other thing other than Kenyans. It is a debate about the constitution. The constitution can be changed or amended. It's not the Bible or the Quran," he said.

"It is something I believe in, we have discussed it with quite a number of legislators. The term limit should not be two terms. My suggestion is the president should be removed through the ballot and an eventual age limit of 75 years."

UDA party distances itself

He spoke hours after the UDA party distanced itself from plans to scrap the presidential term limit.

UDA, in a statement on Tuesday, November 8, dismissed Yakub's comments as a 'product of a fertile imagination by the legislator'.

The President William Ruto-led outfit insisted that the party has not been part of discussions in regard to term limits and will not be part of 'sideshows'.

"Remarks by Fafi MP Salah Yakub that there are plans to extend term limits for the President are a product of a fertile imagination by the legislator. UDA distances itself from the utterances by the MP," UDA said.

"The Party has not been part of discussions in regard to term limits. The Party is busy implementing The Plan and will not be part of sideshows."

Yakub had been quoted by a local daily saying the presidential limit cap should be on age and not the number of years one has served.

The MP claimed that some of his colleagues in the party were working on a Bill to amend the current law and replace the two-term limit with an age limit of 75 years.

He alluded that Ruto, 55, should be given more years to govern if he performs well.

“We want to tell Kenyans that the limit on two terms should be relooked. We want it to be changed to an age limit where when one gets to 75 years then he or she cannot contest," the MP was quoted as saying.

“We will come up with an amendment Bill to try to change this because we want the requirement to be on age limit and not terms. If a president is doing a good job, then he or she should not be limited by the terms,” he added.

Without revealing names, the lawmaker alleged the MPs behind the plot to amend the constitution, have been holding closed-door meetings to deliberate on the proposal.

The 10-year limit was introduced ahead of the 1992 elections following the repeal of section 2A of the old constitution. The limit was also retained by the drafters of the 2010 Constitution.

The proposal also attracted heavy criticism from members of the opposition, who vowed to resist it.

Junet Mohamed, the Minority Whip in the National Assembly said, “This madness of Kenya Kwanza will come to an end very soon. They are talking about many things but once their minds settle, they will realise that they have work to do and stop all this monkey business they have been taking the country through in the last two months."

Makueni MP Senator Dan Maanzo also poured cold water on the proposal terming it “totally ridiculous” and next to impossible.

“Where will such an amendment pass through? He is just looking for cheap publicity. It will be a waste of time,” Maanzo said.

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