No state funding for No team

May 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya May 22- The government has ruled out state-funding for those opposed to the proposed Constitution.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has reiterated his stand that the review process is a government project as it was agreed at the Cabinet and Parliamentary level.

"We cannot give money to people to go and oppose what has already been agreed even in Parliament," he told a Yes Campaign rally in Embakasi on Saturday.

In an interesting turn, Mr Odinga dismissed claims his team would use public money to fund its campaign, a day after the Yes secretariat led by ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyong\’o listed Treasury as one of its donor.

"That is propoganda, the government has not said it is going to fund (the Yes team), but we cannot give you money to oppose the new constitution," he said.

The premier termed calls to share campaign monies with the No camp as \’uncalled for.\’

Mr Odinga said "The government cannot fund actions to bring down the constitution making process. I however see no reason why the Yes campaign should not be viewed as a government project."

A row has emerged between the Yes and No camps after Mr Odinga declared that the review process was a government project and the State would therefore foot the bill for the Yes campaign.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo who is on the Yes camp, termed the proposal illegal on Friday.

"I don\’t want to argue with the Prime Minister," He said. "If it (review process) falls under Agenda 4 like we are being told, the money would have been allocated to my docket and I am not aware of such a vote."

The No camp has vehemently opposed the plan and accused the PM of breaking the law.

But as Mr Kilonzo was voicing his opposition, the Yes camp secretariat was maintaining that Treasury remains a major source of their funds since the proposed Constitution is a government project.

Speaking during the launch of the Secretariat at the KICC, co-convener and Medical Services Minister Anyang\’ Nyongo said the government had a responsibility to ensure that issues falling under Agenda 4 of the National Accord including the Constitution are concluded successfully.

He said: "It would be futile for the government to go this far and not for the Constitution to be passed by the people. Where we have reached today we should finish the job."

Imenti Central Member of Parliament Gitobu Imanyara added his support to State funding for the Yes campaign. He said the government has the mandate to use public funds to ensure that Kenyans get a new Constitution.
"The government is under an obligation to provide that funding. It exists in order to fulfill a mandate, the mandate it was given when the grand coalition government was formed," he said.

However both Mr Imanyara and Prof Nyongo said the No camp should not benefit from public funds.

Some members in the No Camp have also called for the sharing of any money to fund campaigns, a position Mr Odinga dismissed.

Speaking at the same rally President Mwai Kibaki called for sober debate on the constitution.

The Head of State said the country had waited for long to have a new constitution adding the referendum presented an ideal opportunity to finally cross the constitution bridge.

"In my view, after discussing this document (constitution) for 25 years, I urge you let us pass it without a lot fuss," President Kibaki said.

The President went a step further to extend an olive branch to the No camp to reconsider their position adding amendments could be made after the referendum.

"This is our country and time has come for us to put aside personal interests and make a decision that will determine our future as Kenyans instead of quarrelling," President Kibaki said

Meanwhile, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said his ODM-Kenya party will meet next Thursday to decide whether to hold separate rallies after he was heckled at a joint rally in Uhuru Park a week ago.

He said his party was firmly in the Yes campaign but would not tolerate intimidation and indiscipline by their political rivals.

The VP spoke at the Wilson airport moments after jetting in from Juba, Sudan where he attended the swearing in of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed