Kenya PM urges for tolerance over draft law

May 16, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 16- Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday said that the campaigns for the proposed Constitution should not be used to arouse competition among those in the succession race for 2012.

Addressing the media, after attending the Sunday service at the All Saints Cathedral, Mr Odinga rubbished claims that he had incited his supporters to heckle Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka during Saturday\’s launch of Yes Civic Education.

The PM was reacting to plans by the PNU wing of the coalition who threatened to hold parallel rallies to push for the support of the Constitution.

"There is no tag of war over this, and we have all said this is about this Constitution we are not talking about 2012; 2012 time will come but at the moment we want to give the country a new Constitution," he said.

This comes only a day after Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was heckled during the launch of the Yes Civic Education over his indecision over the proposed Constitution.

The PM announced that political parties in the YES camp had agreed to hold joint and complimentary rallies while propagating the civic campaigns towards endorsement of the published draft during the referendum

At the same time, Mr Odinga urged the church leaders to tolerate and accommodate divergent views in the review debate.

He asked the clergy during a Sunday Mass Service at the All Saints Cathedral to observe patience with those pursuing contradictory views in the constitutional debate, to foster unity of the nation ahead of the referendum.

“We must be tolerant to each other and should not view those propagating opinions that are different to our ideals as enemies of our faith, but convince them to see our way of thinking,” the Premier said.

Mr Odinga lauded the church for being pro-reform in the 1990`s and urged religious leaders to keep an open mind.

“The church has always championed for change and liberation and should be seen leading the reforms agenda especially now that the nation has an opportunity to push through the long awaited constitutional dispensation," the Premier said.

He also extended an olive branch to critics of the proposed Constitution to reconsider their position.

The PM urged the religious leaders to give Christians room to read the published draft to guarantee them a chance to vote the referendum with their conscious.

The Anglican Church has decided to take the neutral stand and let its faithful read and vote on the draft with the conscious. The Catholics and Evangelicals have however vowed to oppose the draft due to the inclusion of the Kadhis Courts and right to life.

Meanwhile, the Premier said that the government was not involved in the recent mix up of an altered version of the published draft.

He assured Kenyans not to worry and get sucked into the controversy surrounding the initial printing of the fake copies arguing that anomaly which might have been engineered by those opposed to reforms was intercepted in time.

“These were just the works of a few individuals who wanted to cause anxiety in the review process but the few copies they produced were destroyed and Kenyans will only vote for the authentic version of the published draft,” Mr Odinga said.


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