Kenya’s president dismisses suggestions of tenure extension

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Kenyan President William Ruto has urged legislators not to remove presidential terms limits from the country’s constitution, dismissing comments by a legislator that there should be no such limits on a capable leader.

He said this on Wednesday during a meeting with lawmakers of the governing United Democratic Alliance, during which he urged them to focus on laws that could improve the lives of Kenyans.

Many Kenyans have been eager to hear Ruto’s position since Salah Yakub, a UDA legislator made comments about tenure extension for the president last week.

Saib had promised to sponsor a bill to that effect, saying the constitutionally permitted two five-year terms are limiting for governance.

Opposition members said the lawmaker was testing the waters for the new president, who succeeded former President Uhuru Kenyatta after winning in the August polls and was inaugurated in September.

On Wednesday, Ruto asked the legislators to stop “pushing for selfish and self-serving legislation like changing the Constitution to remove term limits,” according to local media outlets.

The governing party’s chairperson, Johnstone Muthama, denied there was a plan to amend the Constitution in favour of Ruto after heavy criticism from the opposition parties.

Since the former British colony became independent in 1963, its democracy has evolved. For several years it was a de facto one-party state and then was officially a one-party state from 1982 until 1992, when multiparty democracy was adopted.

Term limits on the presidency are widely considered sacrosanct, contributing to the view of Kenya as a beacon of stability in the East African region. A number of countries in the region have abolished presidential term limits, allowing leaders to stay in power for long periods.