Row rages over Kenya Constitution funding

May 21, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo on Friday termed illegal, a plan to fund the camp that is drumming support for the proposed Constitution from public coffers.

Mr Kilonzo said the law does not recognise the Yes camp and any funds should instead be channeled to the Committee of Experts to carry out non-partisan civic education.

“I hold reservation for such an arrangement since those who are saying No are Kenyans just like those saying Yes,” he said adding “I don’t regard the campaigns as a government project.”

A row has emerged between the Yes and No camps after Prime Minister Raila Odinga declared that the review process was a government project and the State would therefore foot the bill for the Yes campaign.

“I don’t want to argue with the Prime Minister,” the Justice Minister said on Friday. “If it (review process) falls under Agenda 4 like we are being told, the money would have been allocated to my docket and I am not aware of such a vote.”

The No camp has vehemently opposed the plan and accused the PM of breaking the law.

But as Mr Kilonzo was voicing his opposition, the Yes camp secretariat was maintaining that Treasury remains a major source of their funds since the proposed Constitution is a government project.

Speaking during the launch of the Secretariat at the KICC, co-convener and Medical Services Minister Anyang’ Nyongo said the government had a responsibility to ensure that issues falling under Agenda 4 of the National Accord including the Constitution are concluded successfully.

He said: “It would be futile for the government to go this far and not for the Constitution to be passed by the people. Where we have reached today we should finish the job.”

Imenti Central Member of Parliament Gitobu Imanyara added his support to State funding for the Yes campaign. He said the government has the mandate to use public funds to ensure that Kenyans get a new Constitution.
“The government is under an obligation to provide that funding. It exists in order to fulfill a mandate, the mandate it was given when the grand coalition government was formed,” he said.

However both Mr Imanyara and Prof Nyongo said the No camp should not benefit from public funds.

(Reported by Anthony Kagiri, Simon Ndong’a and Laban Wanambisi)


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