May Day fete turns into a Yes campaign

May 1, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday took the Yes campaign on the Proposed Constitution to the Labour Day celebrations urging workers to support the document and usher in change into the country.

Mr Odinga who was the chief guest at the celebrations also unveiled COTU\’s Yes campaign at the Uhuru Park grounds.

"Those saying No are deceiving you. The Kadhis courts have been there since independence and deals exclusively with matters of marriage, inheritance and divorce. How do these hurt the Christians?" he posed in reference to the opposition by the church.

Christians have opposed to the inclusion of Kadhis Courts saying by recognizing one religion the Constitution is promoting inequality.

The PM dismissed MPs opposed to the draft on allegations that the land chapter is flawed.

Mr Odinga told the gathering: "those who should be weary of the new provisions on land are land grabbers."

"Kenyans right to own land shall be guaranteed under the constitution," he said.

Speaking in the same function COTU, Secretary General Francis Atwoli drummed support for the new law saying it has enormous benefits to the workers.

"We want to appeal to legislators to refrain from the debate. They had their time in Parliament and Naivasha. It is now the time of Kenyans to decide," he said.

Ministers and Assistant Ministers opposed to the draft he said should be sacked.

Church leaders are set to launch their No campaign at the same venue next Saturday setting the stage for three months of showdown.

The clergy have also opposed a clause they claim leaves a loophole for the legalization of the abortion.

"The draft only allows the doctor to intervene if the mother or the baby is in an emergency situation. They (clergy) want us to leave both die," Mr Odinga claimed.

COTU Chairman Rajab Mwondi promised the PM that all workers are behind the document.

"I want to assure you Mr Prime Minister that no one will defeat this document as we are behind it," he said.

The Attorney General is set to publish the draft next Thursday after which the Interim Independent Electoral Commission will have 90 days to conduct a referendum.

The State has asked the church to endorse the draft as it is then pursue amendments later through the popular vote route which requires them to collect a million signatures. This would then be followed by a referendum.

Church leaders have however remained adamant and declared on Wednesday that they would now concentrate on mobilising the faithful to reject the new law at the August referendum.



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