, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – Senators allied to the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) are now claiming that their Jubilee counterparts were bullied by the Executive into abandoning the referendum ship.
Senators Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Johnson Muthama (Machakos), James Orengo (Siaya) and Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) said that their Jubilee counterparts were being held captive by the government.
The Senators maintained on Wednesday that they would not ditch the drive for a referendum even though it had been dumped by the Jubilee majority because they still had the support of the Council of Governors.
Wetangula argued that the Constitution must peg a specific percentage of money to be allocated to the Counties as opposed to having the ambiguous 15 percentage mark.
“If you look at the demeanour of our colleagues you can see clearly that they are captives; these are Senators who have been intimidated,” said Wetangula.
“Many of them were on the frontline talking about devolution and then they beat an about turn and are now talking differently.”
The Jubilee team left the referendum drive high and dry on Tuesday after holding talks with Deputy President William Ruto, who promised a gradual 40 percent allocation to the Counties.
Muthama however dismissed the pledge terming it a roadside decision that should not be taken seriously.
“As Kenyans we don’t want to be led by verbal statements that are made on the road or for political gain. We want a specific percentage in the Constitution so that it is not the decision of one person,” he argued.
Wetangula also said that the percentage should not be pegged on a party’s manifesto because it was a national and constitutional agenda.
The call and drive for a referendum on the third anniversary since the promulgation of the new Constitution has however met sharp resistance and has not been taken lightly by the government.
Fears that the CORD alliance wants to use it to oust the Jubilee team from power have also been expressed but CORD maintained that these worries are mere propaganda.
Nyong’o added that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was not pushing for a referendum to try and secure a win in future elections. However the referendum drive also hoped to adopt a collegiate system to determine the President instead of using majority vote.
“You don’t need to do anything to keep Raila in active politics. You only need to remind him that his name is Raila,” retorted Nyong’o.
Wetangula also accused the national government of refusing to devolve some of its functions to the County level.
However, the Transition Authority had advised National and County governments against devolving functions which they were not ready to undertake.