, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is now urging whichever side wins Wednesday’s referendum not to taunt the losers.
Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said on Tuesday both camps should remember that they will still need to work together after August 4 vote regardless of the outcome.
He also asked the Kenyan public to maintain peace, harmony and patience during and after the referendum.
“For instance if the ‘No’ wins they have promised us that we will congregate together and by December Kenyans will have a new Constitution. But that cannot happen if the ‘Yes’ side starts putting obstacles on them. It is very important that they make sure that they moderate their celebrations because we are all winners or losers,” he said.
Dr Kibunjia said that his commission had engaged with leaders in both camps asking them to advocate for peace, cohesion and reconciliation. He explained that so far they had already reached out to former President Daniel arap Moi, some churches and Higher Education Minister William Ruto.
The NCIC Chairman also commended the mood in the country saying there had been a decline in hate text messages. He also said that a move from tribal-based politics to issue-based politics had also been witnessed among Kenyans.
”In 2005, no one was the voice of reason. Mobile phones, inboxes and e-mails were full of nasty messages but I can safely say those messages have not been circulated. There is some form of positive change,” he said.
The vice chairperson of the NCIC Mary Onyango asked Kenyans not to embrace the spirit of ‘winners versus losers’ in the upcoming referendum saying it would inhibit cohesion. “If we start from a position of we are all losers or winners regardless of the vote result, we will be able to move forward and work together.”
Meanwhile the ‘Yes’ team also extended an olive branch to those in the ‘No’ team reiterating that both sides needed to consult on the way forward even after the vote.
“We have worked together and August 4 is not the end of the world; if anything it is the beginning of a new world. I expect us to work together because in the event that Kenyans vote for the proposed Constitution, there is very huge agenda in front of us,” said ‘Yes’ Secretariat convener Prof Anyang\’ Nyong’o.
He also called on the need for civic education after the Wednesday vote and added that there would be need for Kenyans to put in place the right foundational mechanisms that would propel the country forward.
“That sense of rehabilitation and integration is necessary; it cannot happen mechanically nor is it going to happen spontaneously. We need political engineering and political socialisation,” he said.
He also urged Kenyans to accept the referendum outcome saying: “We have no doubt everything will go well and we are confident it will be a democratic process. Just turn out and vote.”