Kenyan MPs reach out to draft opponents

April 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) said on Tuesday it would embark on a campaign to reach out to both individual and groups opposed to the proposed Constitution.

Speaking after a Parliamentary Group meeting, PNU Secretary General Kiraitu Murungi said they hoped consensus would be reached before the national referendum due in July.

Unlike their ODM counterparts, Mr Murungi said that they were in support of the dialogue initiated between the government and religious leaders to avoid a divisive plebiscite.

“We will be very patient with the religious leaders; we have decided we will continue engaging them and try to accommodate them as much as the law permits so that when it comes to voting at the referendum we are singing form the same hymn book with the them,” he said.

Kenyan African Democratic Development Union (KADDU) Chairman and Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo who had initially indicated his opposition to the draft citing the Land Chapter attended the meeting but Mr Murungi could not confirm if the MP had switched positions.

“We had tea with Jirongo and we continued with our debate here,” said the PNU spokesman.

“We are also consulting among ourselves; we want to understand why our own colleagues have decided they are saying no. But I’m happy we’re making good progress.”

The event comes only days after Mr Jirongo’s launch of a No campaign in his constituency suffered a major blow over the weekend after representatives of Lugari teachers told him to his face that they would support the draft.

The teachers who were holding their annual general meeting at the Lumakanda Teachers Advisory Hall accused him and other MPs of misleading Kenyans.

During a press conference by MPs who are against the Proposed Constitution, Mr Jirongo cited the clause on land which he said would "render all title deeds null and void" and that the proposed National Land Commission will redistribute land afresh.

His explanation was dismissed by the teachers.  The party will meet again on Thursday next week to strategise further.


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