Kenya PM roots for draft Constitution

April 10, 2010 12:00 am

, ELDORET, Kenya, Apr 10 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Friday kicked off a campaign to endorse the proposed Constitution and urged opponents of the draft to reconsider their position for posterity of the nation.

He asked residents during his two days working tour in North Rift region to ratify the document during the coming referendum to ensure that the long awaited constitutional dispensation was a reality within the term of the coalition government.

The Premier however cautioned the electorates to be weary of deliberate schemes by a section of self centred politicians to sway their voting pattern for personal gains.

He said some opponents of the consultative document were panicky on learning that some clauses could infringe on their personal interests and are campaigning to shoot down the draft to retain the status quo.

“Most critics of the document are hypocrites who want to use the electorates to fight their own battles at the expense of national interest," Mr Odinga said.

He said the clamour for change had fatigued the nation since independence and Kenyans could not afford to squander an opportunity to realise their dream at the expense of a few individual.

“The much anticipated constitutional dispensation is long overdue and we have to seize this moment to deliver the new order and move forward rather than frustrate and wash away the strides made in this painstaking process,” the Premier said.

He challenged the leaders to justify their case for blocking the unfolding constitutional dispensation yet they had pegged their argument on only three out of the 263 clauses in the 18 chapters in the draft.

Mr Odinga urged the leaders to declare their interest or back off and let the will of the people prevail while awaiting an opportune time to push their concerns through the amendment provisions in the proposed document.

He told a series of rallies at Ziwa and Turbo centres in Eldoret North constituency that some leaders drumming support for the rejection of the document want to retain properties which they acquired within the faulted provisions under the old Constitution.

The Premier explained how the politicians unfairly disparaged some clauses in proposed draft to woo support of unsuspecting Kenyans while purporting to champion for equity citing the land reforms which was tailored to streamline ownership rights.

“They are misleading the populace that the document will allow reversion of land to the government but the common man has nothing to lose since the clause targets those withholding more than 10,000 hectares of idle land,” he said.

Mr Odinga who was accompanied by several Members of Parliament including Deputy Premier Musalia Mudavadi informed the gatherings that the proposed constitution recommended that a commission be bestowed the authority to issues land rather than an individual as it has been the case.
The Premier who commissioned several development projects during the tour directed Agriculture Minister William Ruto to stem the alleged sale of relief fertilizers in his docket after farmers raised the anomaly.


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