Deputy Kenya PM is a Yes man

April 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday said he would vote in support of the constitutional draft during the referendum.

A statement by the Progressive Democratic Movement (PDM) secretariat said assertions that he was undecided which way to vote were incorrect.

"I wish to dispel some misconceptions that appear to be gaining roots that I am still undecided on whether to vote Yes or No,” the statement said.

PDM is an umbrella movement made up of the Party of National Unity (PNU) and its affiliate parties.

The Minister who is representing the government side in the 10-member government team is negotiating with church leaders urged Kenyans to support the constitution.

Recent media reports have suggested that Mr Kenyatta is undecided on the draft Constitution but he made it clear: "I want to make it crystal clear that I will vote Yes and urge fellow Kenyans to also vote Yes.”

Mr Kenyatta made the announcement on Thursday morning during a PNU high level coalition meeting at Harambee House.

The Church-state mediation meeting which is composed of five government representatives and five religious leaders to dialogue on the draft constitution will be held next week.

Mr Kenyatta and Cabinet Minister William Ruto who is spearheading rejection of the draft law have been close political allies. But it was unclear how their political bonding will fair after Mr Kenyatta publicly announced he was on the Yes side.

Mr Kenyatta also urged the government to explore the possibility of using a referendum like Australia, Sweden and Switzerland to secure a safe and non-contentious passage for the constitution by voting Yes or No while isolating contentious issues for a separate yes-no voting in a multiple-issue referendum.

Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and other PNU legal experts lauded the idea as an ideal tool for tackling divisive issues, but stated that it would hit a dead end in the Review Act and plebiscite law which only provide for a single issue referendum.

In an unexpected turn of events Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday demoted Mr Ruto from his Agriculture docket that of Higher Education.

There has been pressure from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary General Francis Atwoli for the sacking of dissenting Cabinet Ministers.

Mr Odinga however announced that all his MPs had their democratic right to support or not support the draft during the referendum.

The two principals have been supporting it and urging Kenyans to vote Yes for the new constitution.


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