19 February 2013

Kenya: Raila Drops Demand '6 Piece' Vote

With 13 days to go to the election, CORD Presidential candidate, Raila Odinga has changed tack and dropped his demand for a 'six-piece' vote in his strongholds.

Raila had been urging voters, especially in Nyanza, to vote ODM on all six places on the ballot paper for county representative, MP, women representative, governor and president.

Two weeks ago, ODM candidates were booed by CORD supporters in Homa Bay after they appealed for a 'six piece-voting' in Nyanza. They said it would guarantee that Raila got sufficient numbers to form the majority government.

However Raila, according to sources close to him, wants to ensure that all candidates in CORD mobilise as many people as possible to vote for him for the presidency.

Yesterday Frankline Bett, chairman of Raila Odinga's National Coordinating Committee, said CORD was now asking its supporters to vote in large numbers on March 4 to ensure that Raila wins in the first round.

"We have started an aggressive campaign to encourage people to get out and vote to the last man. So asking for a "six piece" suit in some places does not help us at all," said Bett.

The Jubilee Alliance, spearheaded by Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto, are however still pushing for a six-piece vote in their central and Rift Valley strongholds.

Uhuru, according to various Mount Kenya aspirants, has asked all candidates in his TNA party to promote the 'six piece' vote.

"All of us are asking our voters to vote in TNA from the county representatives to the presidency. This way we can ensure Uhuru and all our governors get the requisite numbers to govern the country and counties," said Priscilla Nyokabi, the TNA candidate for Women Representative in Nyeri county.

TNA is finding it difficult to sell this message to the electorate in Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Laikipia counties where other small parties, especially GNU led by assistant Public Works minister Mwangi Kiunjuri, have made serious inroads.

Yesterday Kiunjuru said he had asked all his candidates to campaign peacefully for themselves and Uhuru as president.

"We are not fighting TNA. In fact we are helping them mobilize votes for the presidency so their aspirants should stop harassing and intimidating our candidates," said Kiunjuri.

The desire for 'six-piece' has been prompted by the realisation that a substantial block vote will be necessary to control the new Parliament. Parliament after March 4 will comprise the National Assembly and the Senate.

The National Assembly will have 349 MPs. Each of the 290 constituencies will elect one MP while the 47 counties will each elect a woman representative.

There will also be 12 members nominated by parliamentary political parties according to numbers to represent special interests including youth, the disabled and workers. The National Assembly will have its own Speaker.

The National Assembly will vet persons nominated by the President as cabinet secretaries --presently known as cabinet ministers. The National assembly will also approve persons nominated by the President as principal secretaries, presently known as permanent secretaries as well as the Secretary to the Cabinet, the Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief justice.

The National Assembly will passing national laws; review the conduct in office of the President, the Deputy President and other State officers and initiate the process of removing them from office.

The MPs will also determine the allocation of national revenue between the levels of government as well as appropriate funds for expenditure by the national government.

The Senate will have 67 members including 47 elected by the counties; 16 women nominated by political parties; two members of either gender representing youth; and two to represent persons with disabilities.

The Senate will consider bills concerning counties. It will determine the allocation of national revenue among counties and exercises oversight over national revenue allocated to county governments. The Senate will also participate in any resolution to remove the President or Deputy President from office.

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