, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – Campaigns ahead of Wednesday’s constitutional referendum officially ended on Monday with leaders from both camps making last minute efforts to drum up support across the country.
The campaigns which formally started on July 12 were due to end at midnight. The Interim Independent Electoral Commission said it would be illegal to campaign after this deadline.
The media was also cautioned against hosting talk shows, running advertisements or carrying campaign interviews from Tuesday.
As the campaigns drew to a close, President Mwai Kibaki held whistle-stop rallies in Kitui and Kiambu in a final bid to woo area residents and said he predicts a landslide victory for the Yes side.
“You have never seen people turning out in such large numbers, and they declared openly that they will support this (proposed) Constitution whole heartedly,” he said.
Addressing a Yes rally at Kitui Stadium, President Kibaki said Kenyans should not allow themselves to be confused by the No camp at the last minute.
“Now is not the time to be held back in discussions, it is the time to keep moving forward and leave no doubt that we have approved this document,” said the President.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka addressed the meeting, as did a retinue of Cabinet ministers in attendance.
At the Coast province, Cabinet Minister William Ruto campaigned for a No vote and advocated a peaceful referendum and said there would be neither tension nor violence during or after the vote.
He addressed several rallies in Kilifi, Ganze, Matuga as well as Mombasa.
“On August 4, we must vote No to force these gentlemen to listen to what the ordinary Kenyan has been saying on the thorny issues of land – which we are saying should be governed at the local level – and the issue of taxation of land which ordinary people cannot afford,” he said.