URP agrees to block intended vote as calls for referendum gain momentum
Updated Monday, August 26th 2013 at 23:40 GMT +3
|URP Chairman Francis ole Kaparo and other party members address the press Monday in Nairobi. [PHOTO: Bevelyne Musili/STANDARD]|
KENYA: The Jubilee coalition now says it will mobilise its supporters to boycott the referendum so as to deny those pushing for change the requisite numbers to pass any amendments.
The URP wing of the coalition yesterday met and resolved to block the referendum by targeting county assemblies to sabotage the push for a plebiscite.
Although the pro-referendum forces led by Council of Governors and Cord can succeed in collecting a million signatures, the proposal will be presented to Parliament and will also seek approval from a majority of the county assemblies. This means at least 24 county assemblies must approval the bill.
However, URP argues they will mobilise most of the counties to reject this bill and thus, deny the governors and Cord the opportunity to have a referendum.
“If they don’t get support of the 24 counties, they will forget a referendum and this is one of our strategies,” URP Secretary General Fred Muteti said.
The party’s Chairman Francis Kaparo gave another dimension on how they plan to sabotage the referendum when he likened the push for a referendum to ‘an illegitimate baby who cannot inherit’.
He said the push for the referendum had become illegitimate after individuals with selfish interests who want to seize power through the backdoor hijacked it.
“We will mobilise our supporters not to vote and in this way, they will not get the requisite numbers to pass the vote through,” Kaparo said.
The URP leaders were speaking at a Nairobi hotel during a one-day workshop that brought together members of the National Executive Council (NEC).
“Leadership call for rational thinking and it will be irrational for anyone to call for a referendum just months after a general election,” he added.
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, a member of URP and the chairman of Council of Governors has been leading the push for a referendum with his party taking a different position.
Yesterday, URP reiterated its opposition to amend the constitution saying Ruto has not been articulating the party position but the position of governors.
“He ( Isaac Ruto) is not campaigning for a referendum as a URP member but as Chairman of the Governors Council,” Kaparo added.
Sources in URP indicate that the party will today host members of the county assembly and MPs from Bomet County in Nairobi to strategise on how to contain the outspoken governor.
At the same time, political leaders in Mount Kenya East region have come out strongly to reject the referendum debate.
Home coming party
Speaking at the home coming ceremony for Tharaka Nithi MP Muthomi Njuki, the leaders said they will give no room for the referendum issue. They said Kenya is not ready to go for another round of voting just months after going through the general election.
They urged residents of the region not to entertain a section of leaders who were out to mislead the Kenyan people. Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi led the group saying the time for endless politicking is long gone.
Kiraitu said his Alliance Party of Kenya had rejected the referendum and urged all members of the parties in the ruling coalition to do the same. “It is time for Kenyans to settle down and work. We have a lot to achieve,” said Kiraitu.
“This debate about a referendum cannot pass, Kenyans are wiser now. We need to address issues in a sober way,” said Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi. He claimed the referendum debate was a strategy by the opposition to bring about a re-run, “which Kenyans will reject.”
Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti said the referendum had been overtaken by time and that this is the time to work for the Kenyan people.
Meru County Women’s rep Florence Kajuju echoed this sentiment, asking the Meru people to close their doors to all leaders who will come to them in the name of the referendum.