Kenya PM calls for unity after vote

August 2, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga said on Monday that the government would form a national post-referendum forum to unite the Yes and No sides. 

Speaking during a meeting with radio journalists at his Karen residence, the Premier said that there was need to foster reconciliation in order for the country to move on.

“We will talk to those who are opposing to ensure that the Constitution is implemented, because beyond August 5 there will still be Kenya,” he said.

Mr Odinga said that no one would be victimised for their stand on the proposed Constitution as it would need a united country to implement.

“We will not be holding a grudge against any of them in the event they lose like we know they will,” said the PM in reference to the opponents of the draft.

The PM stated that Cabinet ministers in the No team including Higher Education Minister William Ruto had a right to hold divergent views. Mr Ruto who is also one of the ODM Deputy Party Leaders has led most of Rift Valley MPs in opposing the draft.

The Premier said the new found unity between him and President Kibaki would last even after the referendum.

The Premier said the implementation of the proposed law would require the top three leaders to provide guidance in order for the country to set the foundational structure for implementing the new Constitution.

“That is not an accident; we have been working on it for some time. We want to leave this country a legacy,” he said.

He also challenged Parliament to put aside partisan interests and work together to ensure that the proposed Constitution was implemented when it sails through Wednesday’s vote.

Mr Odinga said that the MPs would be required to pass some 73 legislations in order to set up the structures of implementing the proposed Constitution.

“The 10th Parliament has been given a historic opportunity to midwife this new Constitution; they can only do so if they rise to the challenge and work as a team,” he said.

He urged Kenyans to turn out in large numbers to pass the document at the referendum so that the country could have a new beginning. Mr Odinga said that the Yes team was hoping for a 75 percent victory vote.

“A vote that is not cast is a vote for the ‘No’ we must make sure that all those who want a new Constitution come out and vote Yes,” he said.

The PM who returned to the referendum campaign on Friday after a month-long absence, said a new constitution would mark the end of a long journey in the pursuit of a new order.

The PM also dismissed allegations by the No camp that the Yes team was planning to rig the vote.

“We have no need to rig, we know we are winning, those who are shouting about rigging have seen the signs of a loss and are now making excuses,” he said.


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