, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Jul 9 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Friday convened a meeting of leaders from the lower Eastern to drum up support for the proposed Constitution ahead of the August 4 referendum.
The meeting which was attended by over 4,000 delegates and which was dubbed \’Machakos Declaration\’ resolved to ensure residents in the region vote in support of the proposed Constitution.
The meeting which was held at the Machakos Golf Club open grounds was attended by Cabinet Ministers Charity Ngilu (Water and Irrigation), Mutula Kilonzo (Justice and Constitution), Assistant ministers Gideon Ndambuki (Agriculture) and David Musila (Defense).
Others were MPs Johnstone Muthama (Kangundo), Prof Philip Kaloki (Kibwezi), Rev Daniel Muoki (Mwala), Etwiku Mbai (Masinga), Charles Kilonzo (Yatta) and Charles Nyamai (Kitui West).
Other leaders included professionals from the community among them Permanent Secretaries, lawyers, several former MPs, civic leaders, traders, youth leaders and delegates from all the constituencies in the region.
Mr Musyoka reiterated that there was no bad blood between the Church and State saying there was still room for dialogue aimed at taking a common stand to support the draft ahead of the referendum day.
"I want to inform you that it is only through dialogue that we can work as united people and ask ourselves what God\’s will for this country is. Kenyans must learn to speak with each other,\’\’ he said.
"If God\’s will for this nation is to avoid bloodshed in future, then why don\’t we support this Constitution?\’\’ asked the Vice President.
He said Kenya is a God-fearing nation and which respects spiritual leaders as they are the source of spiritual nourishment.
\’\’We should continue talking to each other – even the church – on the need to support the draft Constitution for the good of this nation,\’\’ he added.
Mr Musyoka assured that everything will be done to amend the contentious issues after the draft constitution has been passed.
"I want to assure you that we will amend the contentious clauses after we have passed the proposed draft constitution. This is my commitment,\’\’ said Mr Musyoka.
"Kenyans will get the Constitution they want. Leaders must rise above personal, party and political interests and give Kenyans a document that will enhance good governance," Mr Musyoka told the crowd.
He said the search for a new Constitution is unstoppable and urged the church to support the Constitution for the sake of peace and unity in the country.
"We should not be afraid of change. This change is inevitable. We need it now."
On development in the region, the Vice President emphasised the need for closer working relationship among leaders in order to effectively address developmental challenges facing wananchi in the area.
Mr Musyoka assured that everything possible was being done to ensure that the vision to have the Malili technology city built in the area is realised.
He said plans were also underway for the Italian government to expand phase two of the Kiambere irrigation project to enable the residents in the region engage in farming among other income generating activities.
The legislators assured the Vice President that they would do everything possible to ensure that all residents in the region vote in support of the Constitution.
They vowed to drive for new Constitution saying the country has been yearning for new laws for a long time.
Mrs Ngilu and Mr Kilonzo said the meeting was historic and a pointer of good things to come, saying a new constitution will free all Kenyans.
The Machakos declaration\’s came up with resolutions which were read by former minister Prof Kivutha Kibwana.
The resolutions passed included, unity among the leaders; rallying behind the Vice President in campaigning for the draft, respect the opinion of church leaders, champion for necessary changes after the constitution has been passed, strengthen the council of elders as well as the formation of the region\’s economic forum among others.