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Monday, May 31, 2010

MATUGA LATEST

Preparations for inspection of voter registers are underway in Matuga.

Area elections coordinator Sidi Kahindi said that the exercise will start as soon as everything is set.

The Coordinator who is also the returning officer for the by-election said that people should avail themselves during the inspection to avoid disappointments during the elections.

She said those who had registered were expected to go to their registration stations to check if their names appeared in the register so that anomalies can be corrected immediately.

Ms Kahindi said that although a provisional register will be used for the inspection the principle register will be ready when all the data from the country has been verified and input.

She said that some people had attempted to get around the registration bar placed on Matuga voter registration restricting those who did not vote in the 2007 registering.

Ms Kahindi however said the names of such people had been deleted from the register as policy was clear that they were not eligible to vote in the coming by-election.

She added that those with an objection about details in their register about those registered would be given an opportunity to raise such objections through a form at the centers.

Elsewhere, the Orange Democratic Movement party top brass led by secretary general Prof. Anyang' Nyong'o, have reiterated their call for peaceful by-election campaigns in South Mugirango constituency.

Hitting the campaign trail to prop their candidate Ibrahim Ochoi, the officials urged voters to retain the seat formerly held by Omingo Magara now in Peoples Democratic Party.

Alleging that the seat belonged to ODM, Prof. Anyang' Nyong'o who was accompanied by among others, ministers James Orengo, Otieno Kajwang' and assistant minister Prof. Ayiecho Olweny the officials urged the media to educate voters on their democratic rights.

Calls for peace by the party officials followed two incidents in the area where two people had been hacked to death in a robbery incident but which locals alleged to be politically motivated.

Former immediate area MP Omingo Magara had also been involved in a fracas at a fundraiser for Tabaka township secondary school in which National Vision Party's candidate Sagero Abaga was injured.

The campaigns for the South Mugirango by-election are slated for the 10th of June.

REFERENDUM SUSPENDED?

MOMBASA, Kenya, May 31 - The High court in Mombasa has thrown out a case seeking to suspend the August 4 referendum owing to conflict on the inclusion of Kadhis’ courts in the proposed Constitution.

Justice Mohamed Ibrahim ruled that the case was not within the jurisdiction of the Mombasa High Court dashing the hopes of Christian leaders who had filed the suit.

The application was filed in 2009 by three clergy under the Mombasa Pastors’ Fellowship umbrella who were protesting failure by the Committee of Experts to declare the inclusion of Kadhis’ courts as a contentious issue.

The Pastors’ Fellowship was seeking the definition of what amounts to contentious issues in the constitution review process.

In their application, Bishop Joseph Kimani, Reverend Musyoka Nzui and Agnes Mbinya had asked the court to issue conservatory orders and suspend the operations of some of the sections of the Constitution of Kenya Review Act 2008.

Among the sections the three wanted suspended include sections 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34. These sections deal with the civic education, the date of the referendum and the conduct of the referendum.

The Mombasa Pastor’s Fellowship was represented in the case by lawyer Gikandi Ngibuini.

The ruling comes barely a week after the Constitutional Court in Nairobi ruled that the courts are illegal in the current constitution but added it could not make any verdict on the proposed Constitution. The government is planning to appeal the case which although does not affect the current review process has been seen as giving mileage to the No camp led by the clergy and a few politicians.

The case had been filed by the church in 2004.

One more case filed by the clergy against the new law is pending at the High Court in Nairobi.

NO MORE MONEY

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31 - The riddle over the civic education funds continues unresolved with the Treasury remaining firm it had no more funds to disburse, at least in the current financial year.

Despite an insistence from Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo and the Committee of Experts that the Treasury still owes money, the Finance Ministry says that it has released all the funds due.

In a statement, Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua said that the last batch of Sh100 million meant for the civic education programme had been released, while Sh230 million had been used to print copies of the proposed new law.

“As far as the Treasury is concerned, all the financing for the three activities has been provided as agreed with the CoE,” said Mr Kinyua while ruling out the prospect of the government releasing more funds for the exercise.

Mr Kinyua said the Treasury had earlier engaged with the Committee of Experts on several occasions to agree on the modalities of financing the main activities leading to the referendum which are printing of the Constitution, civic education and media publicity.

He said the total budget of printing by the government printer is Sh1.2 billion of which Sh400 million has already been and the balance has been factored in the next fiscal year.

“It was agreed that due to budgetary constraints, GoK financing would be prorated such that only those activities that are to take place in May and June 2010 were going to be financed, while the balance would be provided for in the 2010/11 budget,” he said.

The budget is due to be read on June 10.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday dismissed claims that the Treasury was frustrating the review process by delaying the release of funds saying: “I cannot break the law by releasing money that was not passed by Parliament.”

“All the facts relating to this matter are document and can be availed to anyone who wants to confirm,” Mr Kinyua added.

Last week the CoE and Mr Kilonzo however said that the explanation given by the government did not add up and expressed disappointment over the fiasco.

“We were supposed to be given Sh330 million but we have just been given Sh100 million. We have however seen that we cannot delay this exercise until the money arrives so we had to go forward with it being helped by donors,” said Nzamba Kitonga, chairman of the CoE.

“When we inquired from the Treasury about the funds, they told us that the funds would be made available and that we should talk to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” he stated.

He said that the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review was now relying on limited funding from donors to fund the civic education programme after the Treasury delayed the release of monies as scheduled.

Mr Kitonga however said the Committee had been able to print copies of the draft in English, Kiswahili and Braille and further simplified it so that it can be easily understood.

YES NO YES TO BE ASHAMED

Medical Service Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o says the ‘Yes’ team will use rallies to gauge MPs’ commitment to the passage of the Proposed Constitution.

Prof Nyong’o said MPs who will skip their rallies would be judged as being indecisive on the document.

"There are speculations of some MPs taking a Yes-No-Yes stand on the Proposed Constitution and we want the masses to help us root out such saboteurs from the ‘Yes’ camp," he said.

Nyong’o explained: "’Yes’ secretariat has organised rallies and assigned MPs in the camp duties in different meetings. Those who will not attend will be declared saboteurs because their names will be called out."

The minister was speaking at Nyawanga Primary School in his Kisumu Rural constituency during an Education Day meeting presided over by Education Assistant Minister Ayiecho Olweny at the weekend.

The ‘Yes’ secretariat led by Nyong’o and his co-chairman Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi issued a stern warning to MPs who were not committed to campaigns to push for the passage of the document. This was after The Standard revealed how some MPs campaigned in favour of the document during the day and retreated to the ‘No’ camp at night.

Meanwhile, Gender minister Esther Murugi and Planning Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth have said the Proposed Constitution recognises women’s role in decision-making in government.

Speaking separately, the ministers argued that women would play a leading role in national development as spelt out in the proposed laws.

"The Proposed Constitution reserves a third of electoral positions to women, hence they will have the opportunity to contribute towards the development of the country," Ms Murugi said at Maseno University during a symposium on climate change. She termed the document as good and added: "Women are willing and I am confident that we can do a better job."

be empowered

And speaking in Kisumu during a funds drive in aid of women groups in Kisumu, Mr Kenneth said women represent 53 per cent of the population and, therefore, need to be empowered and the draft is the tool to do this.

The MP for Gatanga also argued that those in the ‘Yes’ camp are up to something good as opposed to the ‘No’ camp.

"Those proposing the passing of the draft are heading towards a certain direction, but this is not the case with those opposing it," he said.

Elsewhere, Higher Education Assistant Minister Kilemi Mwiria has pleaded with the Church and politicians against the Proposed Constitution to rethink their stand and embrace it. Dr Mwiria took a swipe at his boss in the Ministry, William Ruto, and politicians opposed to the document, saying they have been a stumbling block to reforms since 1992.

"Some of those opposing the Proposed Constitution have frustrated efforts to bring about reforms since 1992," said the Tigania West MP.

He also urged Church leaders to let their flock decide independently on whether to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

90 000 000 FROM RAILA

Who between Treasury and Committee of Experts is telling the truth about funds for civic education on the Proposed Constitution?

The CoE and Justice Ministry accuse Treasury, which is under Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, of sitting on the final tranche and argue the public sensitisation programme is stuck in the mud. Uhuru and his Treasury Permanent Secretary Mr Joseph Kinyua insist they have released all the money due to the CoE and there would not be a single coin more.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka (second right) and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta during a ‘Yes’ Campaign rally at Kenol, Maragwa District, Sunday. [PHOTO: VPPS/ STANDARD]


As the two blocs row, the deadline for the 30-day civic education is drawing closer and as a pollster reported last week, over 30 per cent of Kenyans have not read, leave alone understood, the Proposed Constitution.

On the unofficial campaign blitz, politicians are whipping up emotions by giving their own interpretations, some of which are grossly inaccurate, exaggerated and outright lies.

On Saturday, Kinyua said in a press statement that he had released the last batch of Sh100 million meant for civic education. But CoE claims the Sh100 million referred to, was brought to them as a donation from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Justice Ministry.

CoE Executive Director Ekuru Aukot says Sh90 million was donated by the PM’s office and Sh10 million from the Justice Ministry.

Uhuru, who has been accused by some politicians of delaying the funds has come out fighting saying Treasury has released all the money approved by Parliament for CoE at the start of the review process.

Speaking at a public rally to whip up support for the new law in Makutano yesterday Uhuru denied withholding funds for civic education. "All amounts passed by Parliament have been released. If more money is needed it will require parliamentary approval."

Angry ministers

As the row over the money rages on, an opinion poll released on Saturday shows civic education has reached only five per cent of Kenyans.

The poll showed that only 61 per cent of Kenyans have read the Proposed Constitution with only about a week of the one-month period meant for civic education left. This means majority of Kenyans head to the polls without the benefit of being educated on the contents of the draft.

But despite Uhuru’s stand that funds have been released to the committee, angry members of the Cabinet are now accusing him of allegedly frustrating the final stages of the constitution review process.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Assistant Ministers Peter Kenneth, William Cheptumo and Richard Onyonka, as well as Gichugu MP Martha Karua are accusing Uhuru of ‘sabotaging’ the process.

PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed and civil society demanded that CoE be facilitated to carry out civic education. The civil society groups are threatening to stage a sit-in at Treasury until the funds were released. "Uhuru Kenyatta should stop frustrating the constitution-making process for the sake of the few rich who are against the passing of the new law," said retired Presbyterian Reverend Timothy Njoya.

Njoya who addressed a news conference at a Nairobi hotel in the company of other civil society leaders challenged President Kibaki to come clean on why the CoE was being denied funding.

Majority poor

"Uhuru is clearly frustrating the process since he wants to protect the rich who are against this country getting a new constitution. The minister seems to be serving the interests of the rich few at the expense of the majority poor whom the new constitution will serve," claimed Njoya.

Mutula said the assertion by Kinyua all money due to CoE had been released were not true.

"While presenting this year’s budget almost a year ago, Uhuru announced that Sh2 billion had been set aside for Agenda Four Items. Where is that money?" demanded Mutula.

Mutula added: "If Treasury continues to be intransigent, we will ask donors, including the business community, to contribute to civic education."

Mutula added that the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court was also starved of funding. He said the judges of the court were paid salaries only two weeks ago after the foreigners in the panel threatened to quit.

"Agenda Four Items are being frustrated across the board by Treasury because even after the President and Prime Minister asked Treasury increase the allowances for the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Treasury has refused," Mutula added.

Mudavadi read mischief in the reluctance by Treasury to release the funds. "It is unfortunate. Treasury knew all along that that money was to be required. It has not been taken by surprise. It must rethink its position as a matter of urgency," argued Mudavadi.

Karua said the move by Treasury amounted to sabotage of the entire process. "That amounts to sabotage of the process. Money for printing should not be taken from the civic education kitty. These are two different functions," said the former Justice Minister.

CoE Chairman Nzamba Kitonga called on Kenyans to remain alert over concerted efforts by a clique he termed "enemies of the new constitution" busy trying to confuse their focus on a new document.

He concurred with Aukot on the CoE’s frustrations by the Government. "We have been pleading with Treasury to give us money but it has flatly refused to release any to us. All they tell us is to talk to the line ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs," lamented Kitonga

Abdikadir said despite the lack of funds for conducting civic education, Kenyans had fully been engaged and are aware of what they will be voting on. "Kenyans have been involved and engaged, but I also agree that civic education must be undertaken to counter propaganda. The Government must facilitate CoE to carry out civic education before the referendum," said the Mandera Central MP.

Cheptumo said it was a sad day for Kenya after Treasury declared it would not release any funds for a constitutional process adding that it amounts to an illegality of the highest order to subject Kenyans to a referendum some might not be fully appraised on.

Konoin MP Julius Kones and Chepalungu’s Isaac Ruto — who are in the ‘No’ camp — said even without the funds from the Treasury, Kenyans, were already aware of the contents of the Proposed Constitution through enlightenment by their leaders.

"Kenyans are aware largely of what is in that document. They know that their leaders cannot mislead them and they will use that information to vote given that no money is forthcoming," said Dr Kones.

Open sabotage

Kituo Cha Sheria Director Priscilla Nyokabi said it was disturbing Treasury would not release the funds.

Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale said the President should issue a statement explaining why Treasury was "openly sabotaging the process".

Dr Khalwale, who is also the Public Accounts Committee Chairman, said his committee would soon seek explanations from Uhuru on how Sh2 billion set aside for the review exercise was spent.

PNU AT WAR WITH ODM

State parties to the Rome Statute are converging in Kampala for discussions on sharpening International Criminal Court’s teeth but there are signs Kenya’s Grand Coalition is divided on what message to take there.

It is believed President Kibaki’s wing of the coalition could be keen on asking for deferral of ICC’s investigations on Kenya’s post-election violence suspects while Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s side wants action now.
Silent war in Grand Coalition over common stand at summit on Hague trials; Kibaki team said to favour delay of Kenya’s case but Raila group says no way.


The Kenyan delegation leaves this morning for the Uganda capital to take part in ICC’s performance review eight years after it became operational. It will be opened today by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who last week said ICC had proved it was more than a ‘Paper Tiger’.

It emerged Kenya will support a provision that allows countries to defer prosecution of individuals for at least one year "in the interest of peace." This is according to a draft report seen by The Standard.

Presenting Kenya’s position on various aspects of ICC’s operations, the mission will argue that prosecution of perpetrators of crimes covered by the ICC may threaten efforts toward peace and reconciliation.

Kenya, one of the few of countries under ICC’s radar, will also defend itself against accusations it was unwilling to bring perpetrators of violence to justice, arguing the setting up of a special tribunal was not the only way to pursue those who orchestrated post-election violence.

Perils of impunity

Efforts to set up a tribunal were shot down by Parliament last year, setting the stage for the ICC to intervene and start investigations aiming to pin down those who bear greatest responsibility for the mayhem in which more than 1,300 people died.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo who vowed he would make Kenya an example to the world on the perils of impunity is working on a timetable that could see prosecutions begin early 2012, Kenya’s election year. He argues that speed was important so as to break the circle of violence before or after every election.

The divisions within Kenya’s mission arose after the Raila’s office reportedly objected to its exclusion in deliberations that worked out Kenya’s position to be presented at the conference.

Moon is scheduled to officially open the meeting today in Kampala. The conference, called to review the successes and failures of the ICC in the eight years it has operated, closes on June 11.

Kenya’s report was prepared following deliberations by an inter-ministerial team comprising teams from State Law Office, the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defence and an expert from University of Nairobi.

However, sources said the ODM side of Government headed by Raila, feels the process was in the hands of PNU anti-reformists. "ODM has now muscled its way into the process. It was felt that the position held by those involved in the deliberations was not representative of Government," said the source, who asked not to be named due to sensitivity of the matter.

Consequently, Lands Minister James Orengo, the PM’s advisor on coalition matters Mr Miguna Miguna as well as Mr Mutaha Kangu have now been included in the list of 15 officials who leave for Kampala this morning. The others in the delegation include Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo and Attorney General Amos Wako.

"My duty is to ensure Kenya does not shift its position or ask for deferral from the ICC. Given the position of the President and the Prime Minister who support ICC, it will be ridiculous and undiplomatic for our country to ask for a deferral,’’ said Orengo when reached for comment last evening.

He added: "In any case the period within which one may ask for deferral expired on May 8. There should be no shift because Kenya failed to institute proceedings within its judicial system."

The report seen by The Standard was prepared by Mr Patrick Okoth, Ms Alice Ondieki and Rhoda Ogoma from the State Law Office, and Ms Emily Chweya, William Hiribae and Captain D. Odeny from the ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defence respectively. Dr Kiarie Mwaura from University of Nairobi was also in the team.

In supporting delay in prosecution of chaos perpetrators, the report urges an "integrated approach" that should balance between the need for justice and restoration of peace. "In a country like Kenya which is slowly recovering from a conflict situation, justice and peace are intricately connected," says the report.

Truth commission

"In cases where it is considered that prosecutions would be prejudicial to peace and security of states or the region as a whole, African states should seek to take advantage of the provisions of Article 16, where the Security Council may defer… investigation or prosecution for a year."

Interestingly, local politicians opposed to the prosecutions of the perpetrators by ICC have argued it would open old wounds and the country could erupt in renewed violence. However, the ICC is going ahead with investigations from which, Ocampo has said, Kenyans should expect arrests in six months.

In Kampala, the country will also outline several measures it has taken to ensure justice for victims, and restore peace. It cites the setting up of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Interim Independent Electoral Commission, Independent Electoral Commission and push for a new constitution.

In fending off blame over its commitment to co-operate with the ICC, the report says the country has signed witness relocation agreements, and has also enacted a Witness Protection Unit.

But others are questioning the Government’s sincerity in advancing in the report arguments it already has enough mechanisms for ensuring justice, which include the High Court. This comes at a time when many have expressed dismay at the apparent partisan stance of the High Court, which is being accused of standing in the way of reforms.

Criticism of the court heightened last week when three judges ruled Kadhi Courts were unconstitutional, a decision many say is meant to sway public opinion to reject the draft constitution.

In a letter to the Wako regarding the report, the Kenya chapter of International Commission of Jurists criticises the Government, saying it does not seem to take a clear stand on the issues to be handled in Kampala.

As a country whose citizens are under investigation by the ICC, Kenya should take a leadership position on matters regarding how the court operates. ICJ says the establishment of the various commissions does not display any commitment to justice and asks that the report should itemise concrete steps that will be taken to ensure justice.

It argues Kenya has failed to show it was complementing ICC’s efforts, as there has not been any meaningful investigations or prosecutions. Indeed, it notes that the ICC investigators stepped in when the government failed to take action against perpetrators.

divided house

"The few prosecutions that were attempted against low level perpetrators were regarded by the court that adjudicated on the matter as incompetent and shoddy," says the letter signed by ICJ executive director, Mr George Kegoro.

"They in fact failed to target those in high office who may have had a hand in the resulting violence of December 2007 and January 2008."

However, the Government was being urged to put its house in order, end the divisions and make good use of the meeting by presenting a common stand that will show it has learnt a lesson from the violence. "It is wrong to attend the meeting as a divided house," said Mr Ndung’u Wainaina, director of International Institute for Policy and Conflict.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

THIRD FORCE

A group of youthful MPs has emerged as the most steadfast advocates of the Proposed Constitution in the face of dithering by a section of the old guard.

They have upped their rhetoric and candour in facing up to the ‘No’ camp, including the Church.

Among them are Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa, Garsen MP Danson Mungatana, Kinangop MP David Ngugi, Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri, Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni, Laikipia West MP Nderitu Mureithi and Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire.

As the big boys jostle for a platform for 2012 campaigns through the draft, there is talk of a possible third force emerging from this group.

During last week’s PNU Parliamentary Group meeting at KICC, some of the MPs expressed their disappointment by what they termed as lack of leadership from PNU leading lights, and vowed to take matters in their own hands.

Eugene, who has emerged as one of the vocal voices in this group, posed last week: "Bomas draft had provisions for a run off but we shot it down because it was 80 per cent good and 20 per cent bad. Had we passed it, the 2008 violence would not have happened. Is the Church saying we go to 2012 elections without dispute resolution tools, despite the 2008 experience?"

Ngugi, who is also convenor of small parties caucus in PNU said: "New leadership has to emerge to replace the old. The frontrunners are not leading; new leadership can fill the vacuum. We will deliver central region for the ‘Yes’ to send a convincing message we know what is good for the region and the country."

He added: "The draft promises radical tools to address inequalities, tribalism, corruption and impunity. Even the Church, unless they have a hidden agenda in teaming up with forces of impunity, arguments about abortion and Kadhis’ courts are not worth throwing away the many redeeming features promised in the draft."

Mungatana, who is Narc-Kenya secretary general and chairs the Parliamentary Reform Caucus, is among those who have been working to keep the reform momentum on track, especially when it was threatened by bickering between PNU and ODM.

He says the struggle is between status quo and struggle for a new beginning for the country.

"This struggle dates back to colonial times. The proposals in the draft are what the Mau Mau fought for. Each time we demand change, equity and justice, the forces that thrive on inequalities, injustice and impunity hold us back. I believe the draft will liberate and lay foundations for a peaceful, just and prosperous society," he says.

Kiunjuri has warned those who are sulking that the ‘Yes’ campaign is aiding Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s presidential ambitions: "There are no two ways about it, you are either facing the PM or take flight."

During the inaugural ‘Yes’ rally at Uhuru Park two weeks ago, he broke ranks with those tap dancing around the Church’s opposition to the Kadhis’ courts, warning the Church they risk being viewed as a bully harassing an Islamic minority group over issues that do not affect it.

"Many non-Christians, Muslims included, are compelled to endure many Christian rituals like observing Christmas and Easter holidays inbuilt into the civic calendar of public affairs without complaining. If we follow the Church’s argument about equality, we should as well make Friday, the Muslims’ prayers day, a public holiday like Sunday," he remarked.

After the PNU PG meeting last week, three MPs — Kioni, Mureithi and Mbarire — for the first time issued a statement condemning unnamed ‘turncoats’ " who are singing ‘Yes’ by day and ‘No’ by night".

PNU MPs rarely criticise each other in public.

FOREIGNERS FUNDING YES

By Vitalis Kimutai

Higher Education Minister William Ruto has accused foreign countries of forcing Kenyans to adopt a faulty constitution.

Mr Ruto singled out America, Britain and Germany as the countries pushing for adoption of the Proposed Constitution without regard to the the contentious issues.

"Every day, we are being reminded that US President Barack Obama, the British and German governments want Kenya to pass the Proposed Constitution yet they are not asking how Kenyans feel about the document," Ruto said.

"This is a Kenyan document that will be used by locals and not foreigners. Why is it important for us to get foreigners’ opinion on the document and not that of the locals who will be using it?" he said.

Ruto said the Proposed Constitution had already split the country on religious grounds and this did not augur well for unity among the people of the various faiths.

"Christians and Muslims have lived happily together in this country before and after independence," Ruto said.

He claimed adoption of the Proposed Constitution would force Kenya adopt international treaties, including laws of same sex marriages, without the issues passing through Parliament.

"In a scenario like the recent case of US President (Obama) legalising gays and lesbians’ rights in the US Army, Kenya would be forced to do the same," Ruto said at a fundraiser at Maili Nne Primary School in his Eldoret North constituency. He accused the Committee of Experts (CoEs) of being sympathetic to the ‘Yes’ team in the constitutional referendum.

Ruto said the CoEs were drumming up support for adoption of the Proposed Constitution in the course of the carrying out civic education in the country.

civic education

He said the Government should only release civic education funds to the CoEs on condition the team will not take sides in the exercise.

Ruto said public funds should not be used in a process that is lopsided and one that would work against the tenets of democracy.

"Ministers on the ‘Yes’ side have been crying publicly over delayed funding of civic education programmes yet the ones who are being blamed are also on ‘Yes’ team. We do not want to hear that," Ruto said.

"No Kenyans should listen to the CoEs on matters of the Proposed law because they sneaked in contentious clauses to the document even after we harmonised it in the Naivasha retreat," he said.

He added: "CoEs are going round the country saying the Proposed Constitution is good for the country instead of leaving the voters to decide," Ruto claimed.

ODM RESORTS TO KANU TACTICS IN S. MUGIRANGO

ODM stepped up its campaigns in South Mugirango, with three separate groups soliciting for votes.

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Cabinet ministers Chris Obure, Anyang’ Nyong’o, James Orengo and Otieno Kajwang’ crisscrossed the constituency to seek support for party candidate Ibrahim Ochoi.

A team led by Mr Kajwang’ and MPs Martin Ogindo (Rangwe) and Simon Ogari (Bomachoge) received a cold reception at Tabaka when a section of the crowd shouted them down.

The crowd said they would re-elect Mr Omingo Magara, who is vying for the seat on a PDP ticket.

The by-election will be held on June 10.

Mr Magara lost the seat after a court nullified his election.

Another ODM team led by Mr Orengo asked voters at Emesa to elect Mr Ochoi saying his predecessor’s development record was “wanting.”

“You need to change leadership if you want development,” Mr Orengo said. He said the assistant minister slot left by Magara would be given to Mr Ochoi if he is elected MP.

Prof Nyong’o speaking at Nyamarambe, said plans were underway to expand Nyamarambe District Hospital.

“The ODM wing of government has ministries of Roads, Water, and Medical Services. That’s why you need a team player to bring services closer to the people,” Prof Nyong’o said.

At the same time, Mr Magara has told Prime Minister Raila Odinga to stop imposing an outsider on the people of South Mugirango.

He told his supporters at Emesa that ODM leaders had run out of ideas.

He accused the PM of hoodwinking locals by telling them that the government would tarmac the Kamagambo-Etago-Kenyenya-Mogonga road if they elect an ODM candidate.

BRITAIN HELPING

Britain is committed to helping Kenya achieve the Millennium Development Goals with “significant development assistance.”

The country’s Department for International Development (DfID) minister Stephen O’Brien revealed this to Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is on an official visit to the European state. Mr Odinga also met with Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham.

The two meetings were described as “positive” by London’s Foreign Office.

Commitment

The UK ministers reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to working with Kenya to build on the “deep relationship” between the two countries and its people in areas like trade, tourism and development.

Mr Odinga also briefed the ministers of the new coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats on the 2007 post-poll violence and prosecutions concerning those responsible.

A statement by DfID after the meeting welcomed Kenya’s cooperation with the International Criminal Court.

Mr Bellingham noted the importance of Kenya’s reform agenda to the country’s stability and prosperity.

Law review

He also praised progress on Kenya’s constitutional review ahead of the August referendum and reiterated UK support in the reform agenda.

The DfID statement also said the UK ministers “encouraged strong leadership from Prime Minister Odinga and President Kibaki, to combat corruption and impunity”.

The ongoing audit into the missing free education funds and piracy in the Indian Ocean were also on the agenda. Mr Odinga met UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday.

HATE MONGERS BEWARE

An elaborate security plan has been put in place to check hate speech during campaigns on the proposed constitution.

Officers from the National Security Intelligence Service, the CID, and the Provincial Administration will team up with volunteers from civil society organisations to monitor speeches at Yes and No campaign rallies countrywide.

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission will provide 5,000 audio recorders for those monitoring the rallies to preserve evidence of any instances of hate speech and incitement to violence.

The move is part of efforts to ensure that campaigns ahead of the referendum do not threaten national security as was the case after the announcement of the disputed 2007 General Election results that led to violence that claimed more than 1,300 lives and displaced over 500,000 people.

Security agencies and members of the Provincial Administration have been ordered to ensure that leaders who preach hatred during the campaigns are arrested and prosecuted.

The latest development follows last week’s two high-level security meetings in Nairobi that brought together the chiefs of the different security agencies and members of the Provincial Administration.

Head of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Mr Mzalendo Kibunjia, told the Nation that his team met Internal Security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia last Monday over hate speech.

The commissioners also held talks with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, and Attorney-General Amos Wako to discuss ways of gathering evidence that will ensure the prosecution of hate speech suspects.

Mr Kibunjia said the commission does not have adequate resources and staff to monitor campaign rallies throughout the country and will therefore engage the help of the Provincial Administration.

The commission has approached donors to fund the purchase of about 5,000 voice recorders for distribution to the administrators, who will also be expected to provide regular reports on the campaigns in their areas.

“Our work at the commission will be to evaluate the evidence provided and see whether we need to summon or arrest the person implicated,” he said.

The commission has already summoned several politicians reported to have made inciting utterances.

According to Mr Kibunjia, compared to the run-up to the 2007 General Election, there are fewer cases of hate speech.

Under the National Cohesion and Integration Act, a person found guilty of hate speech is liable to a fine of not more than Sh1 million or imprisonment for not more than three years, or both.

Those reported to the commission will be invited for a “polite chat” and asked not to repeat the offence, said Mr Kibunjia. A repeat offence will lead to prosecution.

The commission also intends to enlist the help of the media and non-governmental organisations in remote areas of the country to report on hate speech.

The commission is also monitoring the media during the current campaigns.

At an event organised by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers last week, Mr Kibunjia asked business leaders to take owners of radio stations to task as the broadcasters are the key transmitters of hate speech during campaigns.

“You should ask them (the media owners) whether they want to profit by making Kenya a failed state,” he said.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights is also monitoring speeches made at campaign rallies.

“We are monitoring with a focus on opinion leaders as well as investigating allegations and incidents of threats, particularly against groups,” its chairman Florence Simbiri-Jaoko told the Nation.

On Sunday, Internal Security minister George Saitoti reiterated his directive to the provincial administrators to crack down on individuals who engage in hate speech.

“The campaigns should not be used to plant seeds of discord,” Prof Saitoti said during a church fundraiser in his Kajiado North constituency.

TERRORISTS AND I/DS

Terrorists behind the 2002 attack at the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa had equipment and materials for printing fake Kenya national identity cards, a UN report has revealed.

Fifteen people — 12 of them Kenyans — died during the November 28, 2002 attack on the Israeli-owned hotel in Kikambala.

The ‘Digest of Terrorist Cases’ report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says the terrorists used the fake documents to rent an apartment where a cache of arms was found.

Automatic guns

Among the weapons found concealed in a sofa set were six automatic guns, magazines, bullets and five anti-tank missiles. Also seized were a saw, hammer and pliers, a hand grenade, training materials and manuals on the use of the weapons.

“A laminating machine and materials suitable for making identity cards were also found,” the report says.

The revelations raise fears that foreigners have found their way into the country with fake identification documents.

In February, the government mounted a countrywide crackdown on illegal immigrants following reports that foreigners acquire Kenyan citizenship through an intricate syndicate involving government officials.

The operation, which was spearheaded by regular and Administration Police, was however, called off following an uproar from Kenyan Somalis who said it amounted to ethnic profiling and discrimination.

North Eastern PC James ole Seriani recently cautioned local administrators that they face the sack following reports that some of them were involved in the syndicate.

The report recommends measures that need to be put in place by governments around the world in the fight against terrorism. They include sealing legal loopholes that have seen many terror suspects evade conviction.

Governments around the world have also been asked to use the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism to bring offenders to justice.

The United Nations Security Council resolutions 1267 and 1373 require all member states to freeze the funds of designated persons and of terrorists generally.

The report adds that countries should use collateral offences committed by terrorists, particularly weapons offences and frauds, to trace terrorist movements and activities.

Governments have also been asked to use Interpol’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database to report stolen passports to make it easy to trace them.

As of June 2009 the database contained information on over 18 million documents, over 10 million of which were passports, from approximately 150 countries.

The latest developments come at a time when both local and international security agencies are on high alert after recent discovery of an arms cache in the sea off Malindi and the attack against a village in Wajir by the Somali militia Al-Shabaab, which is linked to the al Qaeda terror group.

Last week, a Malindi fisherman chanced upon a cache of arms, triggering a major security operation in the coastal town.

The weapons packed in sacks, included 436 bullets, four rockets, one rocket launcher, five AK-47 rifles, one Ceska pistol, 10 gun holsters, 18 magazines and four para lights used for illuminating a security operation zone at night.

Malindi deputy police boss Willy Simba said officers were exploring a theory that the find is linked to five suspected pirates arrested in Kenyan waters at the local Marine Park.

The discovery of the arms was followed by the arrest of two men in Diani, Kwale District, over allegations of recruiting and training Kenyan youth for militant groups outside the country.

The men were arrested during an operation by anti-terrorism police at Maganyakulo Village, where detectives found a jihad (holy war) training manual, several national identity cards and a list of names of people believed to have undergone training.

The list had names against the ID card numbers and signatures of their owners. Police suspect those appearing on the list had been smuggled out of the country after the training.

The report says terrorists are moving from one country to another either using fake passports or by evading immigration checks.

Fake passports

Terror mastermind Fazul Mohammed, blamed for both the 1998 US bombing in Nairobi and the 2002 Paradise hotel attack in Kikambala, is said to be an expert in using fake passports. In the recent past, 20,000 passports have been stolen from three countries only.

Key suspects in the Kikambala attack remain Fazul, who is from Comoros, and Abu Taha al-Sudan a Sudanese national. Another suspect Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan, was killed by American forces in Somalia last year.

WILLIAM RUTO AND NO




RUTO DARES YES GROUP

Higher education minister William Ruto has challenged leaders saying YES to the proposed constitution to say so as a matter of principle and not for fear of victimization.

The chief NO proponent asked residents of Matunda in his Eldoret North constituency to reject the proposed constitution in the forthcoming referendum claiming it perpetuates inequality and promotes religious animosity.

This comes after widespread claims that some members of parliament in the YES camp including some cabinet ministers are only saying YES only for the sake of pleasing their lieutenants whereas they are in the NO camp.

Ruto said there comes a time when leaders must think critically before making decisions based on waves.

The Eldoret North legislator asked Matunda residents in his constituency to reject the proposed constitution claiming it perpetuates religious discrimination.

Ruto warned that lack of workable land policies in the proposed law could be a time bomb in the waiting if the new law passes.

Ruto said his team will not waver in its quest for justice and equality for all Kenyans and the only way to do this is to vote NO to the proposed constitution.

MOI FAILED

A free medical camp held in Tigania district attracted thousands of people from the area. Both the young and old made their way to Kianjai primary school in Tigania West constituency.

Area MP Kilemi Mwiria, who was one of the organizers of the event, used the platform to call for the health sector to do more and reach out to those who cannot afford proper medical care.

He however pointed an accusing finger at former president Daniel arap Moi, saying his failure to realize a new constitution for the country during his period,contributed to an increase in cost of living.

Kilemi urged his constituents to support the proposed draft as it puts pressure on the government to address the issue of medical care for every citizen.

CROSS VS CROWN

By OKECH KENDO

The Church has declared war against the State over the Proposed Constitution. The battleground is the souls of the citizens.

The Crown is asking citizens to exercise civic responsibility. But the Cross is pleading with the faithful to temper the responsibility with moral piety.

The most populous faith, the Catholic Church, which has always supported the establishment, is defiant. The Anglican Church of Kenya, through the House of Bishops, joined earthly belligerence for ways of the world last week.

But the Seventh Day Adventist Church has discounted the duel, and objected to a public rally on a political ground, Uhuru Park, on their day of worship — Saturday.

While enlisting for the earthly clash with the Crown, ACK Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, who had initially declared ‘Yes’ had no compelling reason to defy other than to pay the Crown in its own currency. "It is because of the Government’s arrogance that I support the resolution by the House of Bishops."

So it is no longer the meekness of turning the other cheek. The Government has refused to dialogue so we must fight them.

It could also be possible other lesser bishops joined the dissident fray for the same reason, reducing the tango to a battle of egos.

Now that the two elephants are fighting it is the flock, caught between opportunistic politicians and moral pretenders, who suffer. The ultimate victors are likely to be wananchi who shall decide the fate of the Proposed Constitution. But there must be a level playing field for the unprecedented clash of the Cross and the Crown.

Now is the time to pick appropriate venues for the duel. There has to be basic ground rules to ensure fair play in the campaign for or against the draft. Cabinet ministers are not expected to exploit their positions to win undue advantage. Neither shall the clergy be allowed to exploit the pulpit to campaign against the draft. The hallowed pulpit should not be a den for propaganda to frustrate constitutional reforms, through spiritual blackmail.

Equally flabbergasted

The public shall take offence if President Kibaki calls rallies in lawns of State House to campaign for the Proposed Constitution.

Wananchi shall also be equally flabbergasted if the Prime Minister converts his office at the Treasury Building to rally support for the Proposed Constitution. These two should not even be seen to be using State resources to rally support for the referendum campaign.

The might of the State should not intimidate those who think the draft constitution is not a good vehicle for good governance and moral rectitude.

It would, therefore, be in order to give all parties to the duel a fair chance to market their case, even though the popular view appears to be the ‘Yes’ drum.

The minority should have their say, no matter how skewed, even though the majority would ultimately have their way.

The great test, however, is on the men of the cloth. They are charting new ground and their credibility depends on how they fight the ‘good’ fight for moral righteousness.

Already, a section of the Church faces a credibility crisis. It has to prove it is not relying on foreign funding to frustrate the Proposed Constitution, or that they shall not use sadaka to fight an ego war with politicians just to prove who is more influential.

It will also be interesting to see whether the rebellious clergy shall use the pulpit to divide their flock on ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ lines.

Although the Catholic top clergy reject the draft law, they should understand they are preaching to a divided congregation, some acutely aware of their civic responsibility.

There would be possible walkouts if radical clergy exploit the pulpit to misinterpret the Proposed Constitution. Doing so would be to misinform and abet lies on sacred grounds. But also taking the ‘No’ campaign rallies to say, Uhuru Park, known more for political power meetings, would be to admit there are congregants who would not countenance propaganda on the pulpit.

Like claiming abortion is permitted when it is not, and rejecting Kadhis’ court in the Proposed Constitution while tolerating them in the current Constitution.

Majority dictatorship

In this clash of egos, it is Muslims that have carried themselves with a great deal of decorum. Muslims have remained composed in the face of provocation by some extremist Church leaders. Muslims preachers have remained humble even as some Christian clergy rant with the haughtiness of the majority.

Muslims have not even demanded that Friday, their day of worship, be made a public holiday just like Saturday and Sunday, for Christians.

Muslims have allowed the Church to be treated with kid gloves, with many sacred days for their faith. Yet it is some Christian clergy claiming the Proposed Constitution favours Muslims.

By carrying this one-sided dialogue, some Christians have proved they support the dictatorship of the majority. Yet, as everyone knows, democracy should protect the rights of the minority, even as its take care of the interests of the majority.

The writer is The Standard’s Managing Editor, Quality and Production.

kendo@standardmedia.co.ke

thin line

As always, this government never ceases to fascinate. I sensed from the start that pinning down whomever it was who had clandestinely edited the draft constitution to insert the words “national security” would be a tall order.

Simple as it would seem to nab the culprit, it would take guts – real guts – which is not one of the things this government of ours is blessed with.

Aside from the frenzied and quite welcome distraction of building roads all the over the place, a firm and orderly management of government is something the leadership keeps running away from.

The spectacle of ministers who sit in the same Cabinet battling from opposite ends over a draft constitution the same Cabinet had okayed is quite something. It’s a thin line between freedom of expression and bedlam, between a tolerant and a weak leadership.

The Judiciary has now taken the cue and added its own mix into the broth. Frankly, it is a stretch how a ruling based on the Bomas draft, which died like a dodo in 2005, would carry relevance today.

Judicial “independence” is a slogan that oozes nicely from the mouth. Yet rulings that have no grounding in common sense and political realities are bound to kill the institution sooner or later, even if the feared clause to vet sitting judges gets sabotaged.

The same government, harassed to the hilt by the No-sayers, was seriously contemplating sharing the referendum campaign booty from the Treasury equally between the Reds and the Greens.

Until somebody somewhere saw the absurdity of it. Only in Kenya can a government, which has already spent billions on constitution-making, entertain the zany thought of throwing a couple of hundred millions more to characters who want to kill the same draft you want passed.

An inelegant compromise seems to have been reached where none of the camps will get official campaign money.

Only the Committee of Experts will receive allocations for civic education, a decision the Reds oppose since they now demand an “independent” body other than the CoE be created out of the blue for the civic task.

On second thought, maybe it was for the best that neither camp got taxpayer funding if it is true that members of the joint PNU-ODM Yes committee had been demanding that they get a fleet of Prados as part of their “facilitation”.

Talking of loot, the Lord’s warriors in the Red camp at some point also demanded “facilitation” from the Treasury. I would have imagined the Almighty can get His way without needing earthly assistance of the sort that is provided by the Consolidated Fund.

Their political bedfellows in the No camp, after first screaming that such appropriations would be illegal, then coyly sought the same. They must have reasoned that spreading the illegality evenly would make everything else above board.

For their part, the clergymen have come up with a heavy caveat. They will not allow the Yes side to spread their evil from church pulpits.

Fair enough. But if the government gets to shower its largesse equally on both camps, why don’t the Lord’s shepherds do the same with the tithes? After all, they have loudly vowed to use this money they harvest for their No campaign.

The last time I checked, their congregants are also taxpayers. And, by the way, the rumoured dollars from US evangelicals should be shared through the same equity principle.

I have noticed with considerable amusement that a cabinet minister the media has taken to describing as the leader of the Red camp has been attending rallies with a Bible piously clutched in his hand.

But when he stands up to speak, it is difficult to discern anything divine in his vehemence and the themes he rages about. Nor do you get to hear much from him about heavenly injunctions against kadhis’ courts or the nature of the foetus.

KARUA ON KADHIS

Gichugu Member of parliament Martha Karua has supported the inclusion of Kadhis courts in the proposed draft constitution and said that the recent ruling by the three judges to scrap the Kadhi court from the old draft was a machination by NO proponents to derail the minds of Kenyans from concentrating on studying the draft.

Speaking in her Gichugu constituency, Karua said that Kadhis courts will not affect Christians who are strongly opposed to the draft and termed the ruling by Wendo, Nyamu and Emukule as unfortunate.

She said that the Kadhi courts have specific roles to play for the Muslims and were simply to deal will civil matters just like Christians have their own African marriage and divorce laws in the current law courts.

Karua said that the proposed draft is perfect and asked those who are opposed to it to give Kenyans the real reasons they were opposed to it instead of hiding behind Kadhi courts and the abortion clause.

She said that Kenyans have a right of reading and making their own interpretations to the draft and they should therefore not be taken for a ride by those out to oppose the draft for personal reasons.

She said that this time Kenyans desire for change is unstoppable and they should therefore not allow themselves to be hoodwinked.

The Narc Kenya leader said that an intensive civic education should be availed to the grassroot communities to allow them a chance of making informed choices.

BELATED

Constitutional Lawyer PLO Lumumba says the recent ruling by a three judge bench over Kadhi courts as entrenched in the current constitution is belated.

Lumumba says it was a glaring contradiction that the judges who should have a better understanding of the law, went ahead to draw the wrong conclusions ending up with a flawed ruling.

Speaking during a civic education session at Mount Kenya University in Thika Lumumba said it was pitiable that the judges gave the judgment that could not pass the test in the public court.

He said the appeal should be able to set the record right by pointing out the glaring mistakes in the ruling since the judges seem not to have understood the issues at hand.

He urged the students and Kenyans to read the proposed constitution but also endeavor to understand it.

Lumumba said while making decisions on whether or not to vote on the proposed constitution, Kenyans should also be alive to the fact that national cohesion is a matter that they need to jealously guard to ensure that we have the nation intact amidst divergent views.

He claims that the judges' ruling could have been informed by the fear that once the proposed law is adopted any appointments to the judiciary must undergo serious vetting and therefore would rather it did not pass.

The Attorney General has already moved to court to appeal the ruling.

The ruling came three months before Kenyans vote in a referendum on a proposed new constitution.

SCUTTLING ICC PROBE

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Fresh allegations have emerged that Kenya plans to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer investigations into the 2008 post election violence for at least one year, due to the ongoing political activities mainly on the constitutional review.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara and some local human rights organisations claim the government has prepared a brief and dispatched its officials to Kampala, Uganda to meet ICC officials at the sidelines of a Rome Statute Review Conference that kicks off on Monday.

“The conference in Kampala should have been an opportunity for the Kenyan government to show its commitment. Instead of participating at the conference, we have now seen a leaked document reflecting the government’s position, which is to ask the ICC to defer investigations for at least one year,” Mr Imanyara said.

He alleged that the government was working closely with some ‘conservative African governments’ under the umbrella of the African Union to get the investigations in the Kenyan situation shelved.

“Parliament has not been informed of this, there has been no policy statement from the government on why this should be the case,” Mr Imanyara who addressed a joint press conference with officials of the International Centre for Police and Conflict (ICPC) said.

He said any attempt to undermine the ICC investigations posed a danger to the country’s future, particularly the 2012 general elections.

“That is why such attempts ought to be exposed, because we fully support the ICC investigations,” he said and termed the attempt as a scheme orchestrated by a section of government.

“This can not be a coalition government decision, it is something that is being done by some anti-reformists,” he said.

Ndung’u Wainaina of the ICPC said his organisation would do everything possible to ensure the ICC investigations are not halted.

“Accordingly, we are calling on the delegations to the ICC review conference in Kampala to dismiss with contempt it deserves, the maneuvers by the government of Kenya or the African Union to use the forum to obstruct the cause of international justice,” he said.

Mr Imanyara whose Motion on the establishment of a local tribunal is still pending in Parliament said they are also aware of the fact that there are already disagreements between the coalition parties on the proper representation at the Kampala conference.

It is understood representatives at the meeting will be drawn from the Attorney General’s office, Justice Ministry as well as coalition advisors of both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

When he visited Kenya earlier this month, the ICC Prosecutor vowed to make Kenya an example in his investigations and subsequent prosecution of the leaders or government officials found to be most responsible for crimes committed in the country during the post election violence.

His investigators are already in the country seeking evidence to nail suspected masterminds of the deadly violence which claimed the lives of some 1500 people and displaced 500,000 more.

Mr Ocampo has pledged to return back to Kenya in a few months to come, when he will visit areas which were worst hit by the violence, mainly in the Rift Valley Province.

Fund NO through M-Pesa

Church leaders plan to set up an M-Pesa line through which they hope to raise funds for their campaign against the proposed constitution.

The clergy are expected to use the pulpit this morning to circulate the number to which their supporters can donate to the campaign. Sources privy to the plan say the church leaders are also using cell groups to conduct civic education.

The preachers seem to have been quietly planning to use a combination of networks that have previously campaigned for better use of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) cash.

The clergy plan appeared aimed at eating into the dominant position of the Yes campaign as the civic education drive led by the Committee of Experts has stalled because the Treasury has not disbursed funds allocated for statutory civic education.

Faithful in the churches pushing for the rejection of the proposed constitution are said to already have the M-Pesa number which has not yet been made public.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya general secretary Canon Peter Karanja told the Sunday Nation it would be made public when the organisers were ready.

He said they are focused on civic education, which he said was “progressing extremely well”.

“We operate above board, and we will tell you when all these things are done. The civic education is continuing, and you may have seen how opinion polls have changed in the media,” Canon Karanja said.

The church leaders faced scathing criticism when some of them announced they would use church offerings to finance their campaigns.

Most were forced to back track after it became apparent most of their their supporters did not approve.

Opposed to abortion

Early this month, the Sunday Nation exclusively reported that an American-based religious group opposed to abortion had offered “tens of thousands of dollars” to help defeat the proposed constitution.

The church leaders, through the NCCK and the Catholic Church, have launched a massive civic education programme at the grassroots. They are said to have trained more than 10,000 civic educators – a minimum of 50 per district.

They have also turned to popular social sites like Facebook and Twitter where they are interacting with their faithful.

Already, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) and NCCK have accounts on Facebook where the debate is centred on the rejection of the proposed law due to the retention of the kadhis’ courts.

The government-led Yes campaign is facing a number of challenges, including political infighting among coalition partners. The Yes team has decided to eschew public funds following a public outcry.

But the No team is also experiencing challenges as some key leaders have parted ways with the church, among them are retired Rev Timothy Njoya of the PCEA and Bishop David Gitari of the ACK.

Ngilu declines to read Raila's condolence message

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Water minister Charity Ngilu on Saturday sought to mend fences, again, this time to push for the adoption of the proposed constitution.

The two, who met in Kitui during the burial of former Changamwe MP Kennedy Kiliku, blamed their lieutenants and supporters for their persistent political wrangling and vowed to marshal the Kamba community towards voting for the new constitution.

Bad light

Mrs Ngilu accused some leaders of portraying the VP in bad light as regards his position on the proposed constitution, saying both were now singing the same tune politically.

And, in a show of commitment to her reconciliatory gesture, the minister declined to read a condolence message from the Prime Minister’s office, saying that would amount to a breach of protocol and a show of disrespect to Mr Musyoka.

The two have had an on and off political friendship.

“I am sorry for those who have made careers by stoking political differences among elected leaders in this community,” Mrs Ngilu said, adding that both will now work together.

The two also publicly announced that they would be meeting on Tuesday next week to strategise on how to ensure that the Kamba community votes overwhelmingly for the proposed constitution in the August 4 referendum.

The VP confirmed that both would meet to discuss modalities of mounting joint campaign rallies, saying that a new constitution was more important than the 2012 political ambitions of the current generation of leaders.

Mr Musyoka said his recent booing at Uhuru Park was intended to frustrate him into abandoning campaigns for the Yes side.

Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama reiterated his support for the draft, saying it was irresponsible for MPs, who have been part of the process in Parliament, to turn against it.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary -general Francis Atwoli pledged to rally the 1.5 million members of affiliate trade unions under the Cotu umbrella to vote for the Draft.

Leaders who attended the burial eulogised Mr Kiliku as a leader who fought tribalism and was consistent in the push for political reforms.

Astute leader

Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa said Mr Kiliku was a leader whose astute qualities transcended ethnic and regional boundaries.

“Mr Kiliku was first elected to Parliament in 1983 and served for three terms until 1997 when he lost his seat.’’

The former MP is best remembered for chairing the famous commission that looked into land clashes in 1991 and 1992, which was popularly known as the Kiliku Commission.

After losing his seat in 1997, Mr Kiliku surprised many when he was elected the secretary general of the giant Dock Workers’ Union where he served for five years from 2001 to 2005.

He was laid to rest at about 5 p.m. in Katulani Village, Kitui Central constituency.

NO MONEY

The Treasury appeared to rule out the possibility of releasing more money towards civic education with Finance PS Joseph Kinyua saying they had financed all the activities agreed upon with the Committee of Experts (CoE).

Kibaki and Raila rally their parties behind ‘Yes’ campaign
In a statement issued on Saturday night, Mr Kinyua said that Sh100 million had been released to the CoE while the government had used Sh230 million to print copies of the proposed law.

He said the government will spend Sh1.2 billion to print copies of the proposed constitution for distribution ahead of the August 4 referendum.

“The total budget for printing (the main item under the budget) amounted to Sh1.2 billion and it was agreed that the government would finance this activity through the Government Printer. Treasury has already provided Sh400 million of this amount, and the balance has been factored in the next fiscal year 2010/11. There should therefore be no issues with respect to printing,” said Mr Kinyua.

Additional amount

“After further discussions it was determined that the additional amount expected from GoK (Government of Kenya) was Sh330 million. Of this, Sh200 million was related to printing and was, therefore taken up by GoK. The actual amount expected from GoK was, therefore, Sh130 million. However, considering that the civic education programme is expected by law to end 30 days after the Attorney General has published the Constitution, it was agreed that the CoE be allocated Sh100 million which Treasury has released and the CoE itself has confirmed.”

This week, CoE chairman Nzamba Kitonga spoke of his desperation as the clock ticks towards the referendum.

“We have been pleading with the Treasury to give us money but they have flatly refused to release any to us. All they tell us is to talk to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” Mr Kitonga said.

Approved budget

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo told the Sunday Nation that his ministry had approved the budget and transmitted it to the Treasury.

Roads assistant minister Lee Kinyanjui told the Sunday Nation that in his understanding, Parliament had approved only Sh100 million for civic education.

The statement from Treasury was issued in the in the wake of confusion surrounding the civic education exercise after the Justice Ministry and the CoE accused the Treasury of dithering in releasing the funds.

“A meeting was held between the Government Printer, the CoE and the Attorney General on Monday, May 17 on distribution of the document and it was resolved that CoE distribute one million copies, mostly in far flung areas by hiring military choppers,” said Kinyua in his statement on Saturday.

Mr Kitonga last week complained that the Sh100 million was not enough and said the exercise would continue with the “limited resources” available.

The civic education exercise is the last step before the campaigns on the proposed law kick off on July 13. However, the Yes and No camps have already embarked on campaigns in which distortions of what is in the document have been reported.

“We want to ensure Kenyans can differentiate these distortions from the truth. That is why we are encouraging them to read the document,” Mr Kitonga said.

CoE executive director Ekuru Aukot has also been reported expressing disappointment at the slow pace and accusing the Treasury of failing to release Sh230 million required for civic education.

“The strategy we had agreed on for civic education cannot be executed to the letter. It (failure to release funds) is slowing the process of educating the public,” he said. “They keep on saying they will release the money but I have not received a dime from them.”

Meanwhile Gichugu MP Martha Karua on Saturday dismissed some politicians and religious leaders opposed to the proposed constitution as quacks on legal matters.

Ms Karua said the leaders were wrongly interpreting the document because they were not law experts.

The MP said the opponents were misleading Kenyans.

She told the leaders to hire lawyers who would assist them interpret the draft law in the right way so that Kenyans could know the truth.

Ms Karua noted that when people had legal problems they sought the services of lawyers.

She was speaking at Ngariama Mixed Secondary School in her constituency where she presided over a prize-giving ceremony.

Ms Karua said it was important that the No camp consulted their lawyers before going public on issues they did not understand.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE EVICTED

Controversial jazz musician and Finger of God Ministries leader Joseph Hellon, his wife and friends were on Friday morning evicted from a Runda house after allegedly failing to pay Sh600,000 in rent arrears.

Auctioneers in three trucks reportedly stormed the compound at around 10 a.m. and loaded household goods into the lorries and then drove off.

Only the watchman and the gardener were in the compound when the Sunday Nation visited on Saturday.

But contacted, Hellon denied they had been evicted, saying they decided to move to a more private area.

“We felt that our home had become too public and we needed to be less accessible,” he said. “We bought property in Kitisuru and Nyari and that is why we moved.”

Asked why he wants to be less accessible when he recently said, if elected president, he would offer sleepovers at State House, Hellon said he was working on their first baby and wanted the child raised away from the media.

A watchman at the compound, a Mr Kinyua, said: “Auctioneers came here and took household goods in three lorries. I was told it was because the couple owed the agent three months rent. Nothing was left in the house.”

The watchman, who earns Sh8,000, said the couple owed him three months’ pay.

Raila Taught Cameron a lot

By MURITHI MUTIGA

Okay. Let’s face it. We in the chattering classes were wrong to predict that the coalition government would be an unworkable, dysfunctional disaster.

In fact, the grand coalition has worked rather well. Its initial mandate was to stop the blood-letting that followed the botched elections and set the ground for institutional reforms that would make a return to war less likely.

The government has delivered handsomely on both scores. Pessimism is a national sport in Kenya, but it would be unfair to deny credit for these successes to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga.

They have somehow managed to unite the discontented rabble within the ranks of their parties and largely delivered on the mandate of their transitional administration.

Of course, most of these advances have been achieved in spite of, not because of, the leaders.

The tight timetable formulated by Kofi Annan’s team meant that the most crucial legislation that underpinned the reform process was passed in the first few months of the administration before various players on the political scene began to prepare for 2012.

None of those was more critical than the Constitution Review Act of 2008. If the proposed law is passed in the referendum, Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga will have chalked up a milestone achievement that might come to be judged greater than any achieved by their predecessors.

The draft law may have its flaws. But one of the best things about it is the fact it is almost singularly designed to help prevent a return to fighting following an election.

It proposes major reforms to the Judiciary that would make the courts more attractive than machetes as tools for resolving election disputes.

The draft spells out a clear timetable for a swearing-in ceremony after the result is declared, making the secretive evening ceremony in which Mr Kibaki took office a thing of history.

It spreads, however imperfectly, power to decide on key economic affairs to the grassroots, through the proposed system of devolution. This means villagers will not credibly blame an amorphous entity in Nairobi for their economic woes.

An elected governor and county committee will be in charge of a substantial budget at the local level. Failure to utilise funds adequately will mean the culprit is easily identifiable and can be kicked out of office at the next election.

If shepherding through a new constitution will be a major achievement for the pair leading the coalition, failure to push it through will be an equally unmitigated disaster for the pair.

It will sour the mood ahead of the next elections and will represent a crushing psychological blow to the coalition.

At the moment the polls show the Yes team is on track for success. It is little wonder, then, that Mr Odinga took the opportunity at his first meeting with the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to advise him how best to run a coalition.

Constant consultation, he told his younger counterpart, is vital. And he asked Mr Cameron to expect dissent from within his own party to pose the biggest obstacle to advancing his agenda.

There was much amusement and back-slapping in the newsroom when the story on the meeting came through.

The image of a Kenyan prime minister advising the leader of the old colonial power on governance at Downing Street is one that seems a bit odd. It should not be.

The coalition government in Nairobi has been, on balance, a rather successful experiment in resolving what seemed, in the early days of 2008, like an un-resolvable electoral stalemate.

mmutiga@ke.nationmedia.com

What happens in the night will be made public in the day.

By KWENDO OPANGA

A meeting of politicians last week asked politicians to divorce the drive for a new constitution from the 2012 presidential campaign.

It was politicians Kiraitu Murungi of PNU or PDM and Anyang’ Nyong’o of ODM who headlined the news conference at which this call was made.

Rubbish. Murungi and Nyong’o know that they and other politicians have from the outset seen the quest for a new constitution as inseparable from the ambitions of individual politicians and their parties.

Politicians know that come 2012 the roles they played in the enactment or rejection of the proposed constitution will form a major plank in the platforms of parties ad their presidential flag-bearers.

The Bomas constitutional conference failed because ministers allied to President Kibaki would be at the conference during weekdays and rubbish its deliberations in night and weekend meetings and whispering campaigns.

These politicians saw the Bomas process as both favouring Mr Raila Odinga and populated by delegates they believed were allied to former President Moi and Kanu, the country’s oldest political machine.

When the Parliamentary Select Committee went into caucus over the harmonised draft constitution by the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Reform in Naivasha, it was mainly split into ODM and PNU camps.

The result of Naivasha, which is what we have as the proposed constitution, was seen by most in the political class and beyond as a defeat for ODM, especially Prime Minister Raila.

It was also greeted as a triumph for PNU and especially the KKK alliance of Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and battling Education Minister William Ruto.

And then the unexpected happened and not only turned the taste of celebration insipid in the mouths of the K troika, but forced Musyoka, Uhuru and Ruto to rethink their positions.

Where Raila was supposed to slowly and carefully mount a spirited offensive against the proposed constitution, the man surprisingly wholeheartedly embraced the document and ran with it as if it were his own.

Worse for the anti-Raila forces, President Kibaki, who had previously publicly embarrassed the PM and caused the K troika to laugh at Raila in both private and public, publicly backed the document.

Raila lost out in Naivasha but quickly changed gears and allied himself with the public, which wants a new constitution and wants it yesterday.

Kibaki, who is desirous of a positive legacy to wipe out the disastrous start to his second term in office, firmly walked into the Yes column.

Finding themselves in the same column as Raila, stumped Musyoka, Uhuru and Ruto and subsequent pronouncements by the Christian faiths and President compounded their discomfiture.

The Cabinet met and endorsed the proposed constitution and also asked those opposed to it to resign. Uhuru was forced into taking out newspaper adverts to announce he was for the proposed constitution and then went quiet.

Musyoka, clearly counting on his faith and the faiths to stand him in good stead for a stab at the presidency in 2012, has wavered and waffled. He is still calling for dialogue between faiths and politicians.

Taking advantage of the V-P’s predicament somebody rented a mob to heckle Musyoka 16 days at the inaugural rally called to call the Yes troops to order and battle.

Not surprisingly, but in keeping with 2012 in view, Musyoka blamed the heckling on Raila. Unfortunately for the V-P last week, he seemed to go back on his position not to share campaign platforms with the PM!

Ruto has nailed his colours on the No mast and is now indeed the de facto leader of the campaign. He has, therefore, sent a clear message to the country that there is no such nonsense as strategic ambiguity on the matter of the referendum.

And it emerged last week that an increasing number of PNU allied ministers are, as was the case at Bomas, supporting the drive to a new constitution by day (in the open) and opposing it in night (clandestine) meetings.

The problem for these leaders is that what happens in the night will be made public in the day.

And, more importantly, these revelations will have a bearing on the way the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections are conducted.

diplospeak@yahoo.com

YES AHEAD

As the battle for votes ahead of the August 4 referendum heightens, security agents have been put on high alert countrywide.

And to underline how serious the Government is taking the issue of security, The Standard On Saturday has learnt that nearly Sh2 billion is planned for security forces across the country in the run-up would vote against the document while 15.7 per cent are undecided.

In a further setback to the ‘No’ camp led by Higher Education Minister William Ruto and church leaders, approximately 8 in 10 Kenyans (78 per cent) said last Monday’s ruling that Kadhis’ courts are unconstitutional would not affect their decision on the Proposed Constitution.

The High Court ruling was greeted with excitement by politicians and religious leaders in the ‘No’ camp, but outraged the ‘Yes’ group, which termed it an attempt to scuttle the review process.

Attorney General Amos Wako has since moved to challenge the ruling and will be urging the Court of Appeal to determine the matter before the referendum.

Another survey by Synovate Research, formerly Steadman, a month ago indicated 64 per cent of Kenyans would vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum, 17 would vote ‘No’, while 19 per cent were undecided.

Going by these findings, Kenya’s two-decade quest for a new constitution could soon be over.

A sample of 2,000 respondents — who had registered as voters and indicated they would vote in the referendum — was interviewed during the Infotrak Harris survey held between May 24 and 27 in all the provinces.

The poll reveals a close correlation between low general awareness on the contents of the draft and the intention to vote ‘No’.

General content

Thus the bedrock for the ‘No’ camp is Eastern and Rift Valley provinces, which recorded the lowest levels of awareness at 55 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

"Those who are not conversant with the general contents of the Proposed Constitution seem more likely to vote No," the survey notes.

Infotrak Harris Managing Director Angela Ambitho said these findings ratchet the pressure on the Committee of Experts as they put emphasis on civic education.

The poll shows Kenyans who are unaware of the contents of the Proposed Constitution but intend to vote in the referendum prefer civic education to inform how they would vote.

The AG published the Proposed Constitution on May 6, heralding the 30-day civic education programme on the draft, which was however only launched earlier this week.

With barely 10 days left, the CoE is struggling to roll out the programme, hampered by the Treasury’s delay to release a balance of Sh200 million to finance their activities.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo has vowed to seek extension of civic education time, which will inevitably eat into the 30-day period set aside for campaigns because the referendum date cannot be changed.

According to the Infotrak poll, two-thirds of Kenyans (66 per cent) claimed to be aware of the general contents of the Proposed Constitution — a rapid improvement from the grim scenario recorded two months ago. Then, the Synovate survey reported 67 per cent of Kenyans were not aware of the contents of the Proposed Constitution.

At 79 per cent, Nyanza has recorded the highest awareness levels according to the latest poll, followed by Western (78) and North Eastern (77).

More enlightened

The survey notes the more enlightened on the Proposed Constitution people are the higher its chances of approval at the referendum.

Thus the Proposed Constitution has the strongest support in North Eastern at 86 per cent, followed by Nyanza (81) and Western (73).

It is least popular in Eastern and Rift Valley, where only 41 and 59 per cent of respondents declared they would vote ‘Yes’.

Urban residents are more knowledgeable than those in rural areas but, interestingly, Nairobi’s 70 per cent awareness level was lower than in Nyanza, North Eastern and Western.

Majority of Kenyans (61 per cent) cited the need to conclude the 20-year search for a new constitution as the top reason for backing the draft, 59 per cent the desire for reforms and 34 per cent the need to exercise their democratic right.

An overwhelming majority (91 per cent) were elated with decentralising of resources and devolution of power while 63 per cent believe the Proposed constitution addresses thorny land issues.

Discontent with the conditional abortion clause (65 per cent), Kadhis’ courts (46) and unfair representation (41) topped the issues of concern by the respondents.

The Church has vowed to mobilise its flock to reject the new law since their calls to have the provisions on Kadhis’ courts and abortion amended were disregarded.

CONSPIRACY

Two months to the August 4 referendum, there is panic and uncertainty as hitches hit the constitution review, with claims that powerful forces could be secretly working to scuttle it.

From "national Security" typographical errors to the controversial ruling on Kadhis’ Courts and now a scheme to destroy copies of the Proposed Constitution, the hurdles placed in the way of the process are major but not insurmountable.
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga at the ‘Yes’ launch rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi two weeks ago.


The Standard On Sunday has learnt that there are a raft of legal challenges lined up, including one revolving around the Interim Independent Electoral Commission’s (IIEC) recently issued voters cards. Attorney-General Amos Wako, speaking exclusively to The Standard On Sunday, warned of a looming "major war" over the review process.

"I was elated when I finally published the Proposed Constitution, for I knew the tough and rough constitutional journey was about to conclude. But I was wrong."

The Committee of Experts (CoE), on its part, reads efforts to undermine and eventually scuttle the review process.

"There is a deliberate attempt by some forces to ensure Kenyans do not get copies of the Proposed Constitution to read for themselves," said CoE Director Ekuru Aukot while commenting on reports of destruction of copies of the draft.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo also alleges a grand conspiracy. "They are afraid of the revolution that is coming. But they are not brave to say no. They are hiding behind churches. If Treasury continues being intransigent, we will ask donors, including the business community to contribute to civic education."

Wako now concedes tougher times lie ahead and declares his alertness and readiness to deal with emerging mischief and challenges.

Currently, there are two more cases lined up in court.

Voters’ cards

The argument on the voters’ cards is that they do not expressly provide for holders to participate in the referendum as it is specific to general elections.

The reading on the card states, "Entitled to vote at Presidential, National & Local Authority Elections".

On Saturday, University of Nairobi political science lecturer, Adams Oloo, said the public mood was strongly in favour of the Proposed Constitution and forces against its realisation could only fight back through technical hitches, the courts and starving the Committee of Experts of civic education of funds.

"Those engaging in the undercover sabotage are cowed by the President and Prime Minister and can accordingly not come out in the open to exhibit their defiance," observes Dr Oloo.

Speaking separately last Wednesday, Narc-Kenya officials alleged that "powerful forces" had plotted to defeat the review process.

"Which ordinary Kenyan will go to the Government Printer to change a clause in a highly secure environment? How, if not people with big money and power to open every door?" posed party Secretary-General Danson Mungatana.

To date, no arrests have been made and the matter seems to have died down.

Without naming names, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua — who is also a former Justice Minister — said the saboteurs included "powerful landowners, businesspeople and political heavyweights with contracts in all facets of the economy".

A source pointed at some of Kenya’s leading political families as among those financing the Churches.

Separately, the CoE said it had unearthed an elaborate scheme where copies of the draft constitution from its warehouses were being collected and systematically destroyed.

In the latest incident, CoE officials traced copies of the Proposed Constitution at a warehouse in downtown Nairobi.

By the time of going to press, it was still unclear why a heap of the crucial document was confined at the premises, but investigations intimated that copies were being burnt or sold as old newspapers.

Intense pressure

What is more disturbing, according Dr Aukot, was the police appeared to be under intense pressure from "some powerful forces" to release apprehended suspects from custody.

The withholding of civic education funds has also been identified as one of the many hurdles the Proposed Constitution would have to surmount.

With their one-month long lamentations falling on the deaf ears, the team has petitioned Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura.

"It cannot be that somebody is simply being lazy. It can only be that this process does not enjoy support from some Government quarters," said Aukot.

The official said the delay had hampered the roll out of the civic education programme by the CoE and allowed politicians to poison the ground by spreading lies and half-truths.

Going up in flames

"With the Treasury withholding operational funds, copies of the Proposed Constitution going up in flames and suspects of the same being shielded from facing the law, one cannot rule out a conspiracy," says Aukot.

Reached for comment, the PM’s office downplayed the magnitude of the problem.

"I do not think the situation is so bad. While the PM, like everyone else is aware of the hitches, there is a feeling that some State organs as well as politicians are deliberately exaggerating the facts," Dennis Onyango, the PM’s spokesman, told The Standard On Sunday on phone from London, UK, where he is accompanying Raila on official visit.

The "No" campaigners refute claims of the role of "powerful forces" in the current twists that have mainly slowed down the pro-Constitution side. Igembe South MP Linturi Mithika regards the goings on as "God’s miraculous works".

Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto, a key ally of Higher Education Minister William Ruto, who is leading the ‘No’ camp, claims if there is anybody sabotaging the process then it is the CoE, itself. The MP maintains Kenyans are engaging in an illegality because CoE has two conflicting drafts under distribution.

RAILAPHOBIAS

Concerns that Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s star is rising ahead of the 2012 elections and the distribution of counties are the two biggest threats to the Yes campaign ahead of the August 4 constitutional referendum.

Politicians allied to the Party of National Unity (PNU) are increasingly wary of Mr Odinga’s large presence in the Yes camp and feel that victory for the Green side, which backs the proposed constitution, will give him mileage in the 2012 presidential contest.

The politicians — a good number of whom are President Kibaki’s loyalists — have been quietly lobbying for the draft’s rejection in their backyards as a protest against Mr Odinga.

Consequently, support for the proposed constitution is fast turning lukewarm in some areas traditionally resentful of Mr Odinga such as Central Province, Ukambani and Rift Valley.

Some leaders who were initially vocal in the Yes crusade have adopted a cautious tone while others have gone quiet.

The influential clique comprising former and sitting MPs has been holding secret meetings in Nairobi and at a club in Limuru to plot to shoot down the proposed constitution as a way of cutting Mr Odinga’s national influence.

Those privy to the secret meetings say the leaders have yet to agree on a concrete strategy because they don’t want to appear to be contradicting the President’s position on the constitution review.

But they are said to have resolved that PNU-allied politicians should “minimise” attendance of rallies involving Mr Odinga. Last week’s Embakasi rally attended by President Kibaki and the PM was a test case.

Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara says PNU politicians opposed to the Premier “were caught flat-footed” when Mr Odinga supported the proposed constitution.

He says that MPs allied to Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Higher Education minister William Ruto expected Mr Odinga to oppose the proposed law after the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution settled on the presidential system as opposed to the parliamentary one desired by the PM.

Contrary to their expectations, Mr Odinga embraced the document and immediately hit the road campaigning for it. “Now they find it difficult to accept that he is their leader in the Yes campaign.

‘‘They are completely lost because they were caught off-guard and don’t have a strategy to deal with their predicament,” the MP said. “They have no strategy, fear to be led and they don’t want to hear of a Raila presidency.”

He added: “We know they are meeting clandestinely because they don’t want to be seen to publicly defy President Kibaki.”

PNU Cabinet ministers gave the Embakasi meeting a wide berth with Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi, a co-convenor of the Green campaign, being the only one who sent an apology through his colleague at the Yes secretariat, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o. Mr Murungi was out of the country.

ODM ministers James Orengo, Henry Kosgey, Fred Gumo and Paul Otuoma attended. ODM-Kenya’s Johnstone Muthama, Prof Philip Kaloki and assistant minister Abu Chiaba of Kanu as well as local MP Ferdinand Waititu were the only PNU-allied legislators at the rally.

While Mr Muthama was speaking for the party in Embakasi, ODM-K chairman Samuel Poghisio, the Information minister, was preaching against the document in Kitui together with Mr Ruto.

Mr Odinga’s brand of politics evokes resentment and admiration in equal measure. Kinangop MP David Ngugi says some of his colleagues from Central province have been “blinded” by the anti-Raila sentiment, becoming an obstacle to the Green campaign.

“This Railaphobia must stop. If somebody has outrun you, you cannot live in mourning forever,” says the PNU-allied MP.

Mr Ngugi notes that “small fears” have kept some politicians especially those from Central province out of the Green brigade.

Now there are fears that a combination of votes from sections of the Church, the Rift Valley, Meru, Ukambani and the “silent” anti-Raila vote may pose a threat to the enactment of a new constitution.

“Events unfolding in the Yes team ahead of the referendum reinforce the need for new leadership that is able to stand firm and ready to be counted at a critical time like this,” said Mr Ngugi.

In a recent conversation with the Sunday Nation, Mr Murungi appeared to caution that even as the party backs the Yes campaign, PNU members must guard against “destroying their house” as they prepare themselves for the 2012 General Election.

“Even as we support the new constitution, we should realise that we are in political competition with some of our colleagues in the Yes campaign,” said Mr Murungi.

But on Thursday, the PNU secretary-general declared that the wavering leaders in the Green team would not be allowed to advance the No cause.

Political parties such as Ms Martha Karua’s Narc Kenya have kept a distance from the Yes team to avoid being “swallowed” by the Raila camp.

The majority of politicians said to be uncomfortable with Mr Odinga’s increasing visibility in the Green campaign are keen on the post-Kibaki presidency.

Reached for comment, Mr Muthama, the Deputy Government Whip, however, denied any Railaphobia in the PNU camp.

“This constitution is for Kenya and not for an individual. Nobody is scared of anyone. When we get to 2012, candidates will mount own campaigns,” Mr Muthama said.

Mr Kiema Kilonzo, the ODM-Kenya MP for Mutito, accused Mr Odinga of personalising the Yes campaign. He claimed that the PM “intends to use it to fix some people’’.

Besides the Raila factor, the number of counties to be created under the new constitutional order is said to be another critical weapon against the proposed constitution.

Some central Kenya leaders are said to be unsettled over split of the region into five counties compared with 14 in Rift Valley.

Similar concerns have been voiced in Ukambani with three counties and Meru. Mr Kilonzo questioned the rationale of setting up Kitui County with six constituencies and a population of nearly one million while Makueni county, with a population of 1.3m, had five constituencies.

“There are a lot of disparities and that is why many people in Ukambani are Red,” he said.

The MP, who has been at loggerheads with Mr Musyoka, introduced another dynamic to the debate. He said the recent heckling of the VP at Uhuru Park slighted his Ukambani constituency, which may vote No in protest against Mr Odinga.

Mr Musyoka accused the PM of organising the booing at the really which had overtones of the 2007 campaigns.

“The perception in Ukambani is that the ODM leadership has mistreated our son.”

Gachoka MP Mutava Musyimi also said there is discomfort in the Meru and Embu regions over counties.

“I hear there are people who don’t want to be in the old Meru or Embu and vice-versa,” he said.

Then there is the influence of the Church, especially the Catholic and Africa Inland Church in rural Ukambani. A host of churches are also influential in Central Kenya.

Mr Musyimi says the influence of the Church cannot be underestimated.

“The Church and Parliament were locked out of a critical process,” said the MP pointing out that the recent court ruling declaring kadhi courts unconstitutional had vindicated the concerns expressed by the clergy.

The various schemes have caused cracks in the Yes team, with the emergence of a group of youthful politicians who, agitated by what they see as a plot by the anti-reform elements in the region, have resolved to conduct village to village campaigns to sell the proposed constitution.

The MPs, who include assistant ministers Cecily Mbarire, Kabando wa Kabando, Ndiritu Muriithi and Ndaragua’s Jeremiah Kioni, point fingers at PNU leaders who project themselves as Yes but had conveniently deployed proxies to their backyards to rally against the draft.

They questioned the honesty of party leaders who grace national platforms to campaign for the document, while their loyalists were vocal in the Red campaign or uncharacteristically quiet.

“This dishonesty is irritating and they are confusing Kenyans. We need to stop double-speak and show courage of leadership,” says Mr Kioni.
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