, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – Jubilee Coalition affiliate parties – The National Alliance (TNA) and United Republican Party (URP) – have dismissed calls for referendum which seeks to change the system of electing a president.
TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo said the referendum being mooted by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s allies, is ill-advised adding that they should allow Kenyans time to determine whether the current governance structure has succeed or failed.
“We are not afraid of the referendum, we are not afraid of reaching out to Kenyans on whatever issue of public interest but two years or a year is not enough to test whether a presidential system has succeeded or failed,” Oloo told a news conference held at the URP headquarters in Nairobi.
He accused the CORD leaders of going back on their own promise of protecting devolution to changing system of government.
The TNA Secretary General noted that Odinga has in the past flip-flopped on his preferred system of government.
“The question we pose to fellow country men and women, shall we wait until the individual (Odinga) wins an election before we decide which structures to take?” said the official from the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party.
The movement, associated with civil society activist Okiya Omtata and Odinga’s aide Eliud Owalo aims to amend Article 138 of the Constitution through a referendum to ensure the country’s chief executive is picked by elected representatives of the people akin to the collegiate system in the USA.
They argue that the current presidential election format alienates small tribes and favours big tribes.
Oloo who was flanked by URP Executive Director David Koech said the Jubilee administration led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto is committed to implementing devolution.
The Governors and the Senate have launched the process of seeking to review the Constitution to enhance the powers of the Senate or increase the powers and funding to the Counties by between 30 percent and 40 percent of the last audited accounts.
This is after President Kenyatta sided with the National Assembly and signed the Division of Revenue Bill (now an Act) which allocated Sh210 billion which 32 percent of the 2010/2011 audited accounts as approved by Parliament.
The Senate had amended the figure to Sh258 billion but National Assembly members reversed it, saying it was an error that the bill guiding the division of funds between the national and county governments had been forwarded to the upper House in the first place.
“The Jubilee Coalition is willing even to increase the percentage allocated to the counties forward,” he stated. “But this must be done in a structured way after we have established that the devolved units are able and capable of utilizing the amount that has been devolved to them first and foremost to the benefit of the citizens.”
The ruling coalition’s statement came hours after the launch of March Fourth Movement came just days after MPs and senators allied to the CORD alliance accused the government of failing and hinted at plans to hold a national referendum to have the country adopt a parliamentary system of government.
“The CORD leadership, in keeping with the tradition of democratic relations by now should have accepted their defeat and played their role of ensuring that they keep the government on toes,” Onyango said.