In what could have easily been dismissed as empty rhetoric from the beginning, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) seems determined in its quest for referendum and over the weekend, CORD’s principal Raila Odinga led his team in launching its campaign inquest for the million signatures, which the opposition requires in their ‘Okoa Kenya’ operation.
Raila has stressed that the only way devolution will be strengthened is through a referendum and that it was time for the amendments that Kenyans were promised when the constitution was being passed. Raila also promised that CORD will secure a million signatures within one week.
Last month, CORD announced that the following three issues will top the agenda in the referendum push; Disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), insecurity and devolution.
In the meantime, Raila has called out all those who opposed the constitution in 2010 to join the demands for a referendum.
“We are appealing to those leaders who were not in support of the constitution to come and join hands with us for change and for a better Kenya, he said.”
GOVERNORS CALL FOR ‘PESA MASHINANI’
Governors on the other hand are also pressed on a motion for a national vote in an operation dubbed ‘Pesa Mashinani’ citing 10 critical issues that they need addressed by the national government. The governors have maintained that their call for a referendum is different from CORD’s since they are from different political outfits.
The governors were aggrieved by the conditional grant for level 5 hospitals which has been reduced from 3.6 billion to 1.8 billion for this financial year.
These are the issues they want addressed in the referendum;
1. Division of revenue to ensure adequate resources to the Counties to at least 45%;
2. Strengthening the role of senate; creating a nexus between senate and county governments and assemblies;
3. Counties should have their own law gazettement framework;
4. Strengthening of county role in management of security at the local level;
5. Clarity on management of Land, Natural Resources and Forestry;
6. Recall/Impeachment of all elected leaders;
7. Form a successor to CIC as a gatekeeper of laws – KLRC;
8. Formation Loans and Grants Council;
9. MCAs to have similar privileges as MPS
10. Determine the meaning of a delegation vote.
MCAS FAIL TO REACH DEAL ON REFERENDUM
Until Saturday, the buck seemed to settle on the County Assembly Members (MCAs,) whose support is critical for both Jubilee and CORD in the call for a referendum as they are key in determining whether the push thrives or stumbles.
However, in an expected turn of events the MCAs failed to decide whether or not to support the push for a referendum during their summit on Saturday at the Bomas of Kenya, where they had congregated to take a common position on the matter.
Instead, the MCAs resolved to form a 15 – member taskforce to look into the issues of devolution. The committee is expected to report back in a month.
RUTO WARNS ON REFERENDUM
Jubilee leaders on their side have adamantly condemned the push for a referendum citing it as political and too costly for the tax payers. The leaders have criticized CORD for confusing Kenyans with a push for a referendum that does not even have a question to either vote for or against.
Deputy president William Ruto urged Kenyans not to support the proposed referendum by the council of governors and the opposition coalition which will derail the government’s development agenda.
“Do not be deceived by calls for a referendum because this is purely a push by Raila Odinga, who lost in the last election and I want the governors not to allow themselves to be misused, he said. The deputy president was speaking during a funds drive in Narok county.
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