22 August 2014

Kenya: Governors Don't Control Electorate - Raila

Nairobi — Opposition leader Raila Odinga says the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) will not be shaken by the withdrawal of the Jubilee Alliance from the parallel Governors' referendum bid.

Speaking at the unveiling of the OKOA Kenya Secretariat offices, Odinga said Governors don't control the electorate who he hopes will vote for or against the CORD referendum.

"It is for Kenyans to decide whether they want to amend this Constitution. This is not an issue to be decided by certain leaders of some political parties," he said on Friday during the launch.

"Governors who are pulling out are pulling out as individuals," he added. "In any case, if the people disagree with the Bill that will be prepared, they will vote 'No' if they support they will vote 'Yes'. I would say it's a futile exercise to try to blackmail and intimidate Governors to pull out."

At least 18 Jubilee Alliance Governors on Wednesday pulled out of the 'Pesa Mashinani' (money for the grassroots) referendum call by the Council of Governors after intense pressure.

Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto said the Governors did not make the decision to pull out from the referendum campaign out of their own volition but were clearly bowing down to pressure from their principals even though they wouldn't admit it.

At Friday's launch, OKOA Kenya chairman Paul Mwangi unveiled the official Referendum Petition sheet which has been approved by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The petition lists six issues the Opposition would like to amend the Constitution through a popular-initiative as envisaged under Article 255 and 257 of the Constitution.

The issues are:

1. Increase revenue and function allocation to the County Government and strengthen devolution.

2. Strengthen the role of the National Land Commission and define the role of and benefits for communities in natural resources.

3. Election reforms to strengthen the electoral system to ensure free fair, transparent efficient, accurate and accountable elections.

4. To make provisions for the enforcement of ethnic inclusivity, equity and diversity in public appointments and increased representation of women.

5. Strengthening of public institutions and constitutional commissions.

6. Any other amendments ancillary to the above amendments.

Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula are set to launch the signature collection on Saturday in Migori, Embakasi and Western respectively.

"The rollout will be everywhere and will pick as many signatures from any part of the country where there are people who are ready to support the initiative," Mwangi said.


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