Kenyan civil societies dig in over new law

June 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – Civil society organisations rooting for the adoption of a new constitution have vowed to intensify their Yes campaign initiative to ensure that at least 76 percent of Kenyans vote for the proposed law at the August 4 referendum.

The civil societies under the aegis of the Center for Multiparty Democracy have said they will deploy over 2,000 personnel in their campaigns and convince those who are still undecided to vote for the draft.

The vice chairperson of CMD Alice Wahome said on Wednesday that the civil societies would also work with the Committee of Experts to deliver civic education to the grassroots.

“We now have 56 days to the August 4 referendum. Opinion polls have shown that the Yes movement is leading with an average of 60 percent majority vote. We are confident that Kenyans will give a new democratic constitution that will set the foundation for the various reforms that have been sought for so long,” she said.

The civil societies also rubbished proposals to suspend opinion polls with National Convention Executive Council Secretary General Cyprian Nyamwamu saying they were authorised by the Statistics Act.

He explained that the Statistics Act which was amended in 2006 gave stipulations on the institutions that were mandated to conduct the research and also when such surveys should be conducted.

“Do they want this country to be guided by witchcraft? I don’t know. How can we rely on imagination and possibly voodoo? This country must rely on research and statistics and pollsters must continue,” he said.

The team which warned of dire consequences that would follow a negative outcome of the referendum also implored the Yes secretariat to transparently use campaign funds.

“They need to tell the country how these monies shall be utilised because they have been demanding for funding. It is the responsibility of Kenyans to ensure effective and proper use of those funds. We need to see how the programmes are being rolled out,” said Ms Wahome. 

Mr Nyamwamu also said that there was no problem with the international community voicing out their stand on the proposed law.

“We are an independent and sovereign nation and we don’t do anything because we are asked to do so by the USA or any other country for that matter. You have to remember that Kenyans have been looking for this constitution for so long,” he said.

The civil societies also added that they would continue dialoguing with those in the No team.

“In football there is something called a home game and an away game. We have been playing away to the No because we needed to hear their views after we released the Constitution. Now we know what those views are and so what we will do for the next 60 days is play at home. We will try and reach them,” said Mr Nyamwamu.


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