NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – CORD Leader Raila Odinga has cautioned Members of County Assemblies allied to the coalition of dire consequences if they reject the Okoa Kenya Referendum Bill when it comes before their respective assemblies.
Speaking during unveiling of the draft Bill, Odinga warned that the county leaders must overcome attempts by the central government to intimidate or compromise them.
“The first step is going to be through the County Assemblies, and we know that our MCAs are going to be intimidated, blackmailed, and are going to bribed to reject this draft. If they do so, I want to put them on notice, they know we are waiting for them in the court of public opinion,” Odinga stated.
The Jubilee Coalition is opposed to the plebiscite saying the initiative will be costly and divisive.
CORD is relying on its majority in 24 of the 47 counties to have the Bill approved and transmitted to the Senate and National Assembly for approval before it is subjected to a referendum.
Odinga’s co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula said the launch marks the beginning of the process of seeking political support across parties and public goodwill to buttress the referendum agenda.
“The prophets of doom are going to misread it, misinterpret it and misinform Kenyans about it. This Bill is not a Kalonzo Bill, a Weta Bill or a Raila Bill; it’s a Bill for the people of Kenya and the people of Kenya must run with it and deliver this country to where it belongs.”
The former Vice-President said he was concerned that supremacy battles between the two Houses of Parliament is likely to derail the passage of the Bill.
“I don’t believe there should be supremacy battle between the senate and national assembly and yet we know if it was left to Jubilee Coalition administration they would like to see it back to where they left it in 1963,” he said while making reference to how the independence government led by Jomo Kenyatta spearhead constitutional amendments resulting in the disbanding of the Senate.
Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua who attended the launch said the Opposition may sponsor legislation to realise the one-third gender representation provided in the Constitution if the government fails to do so.
“The government has not yet tabled to actualize the not more than two-thirds gender rule, which ensures both men and women and all marginalized people come to the decision making table.”
The former Constitutional Affairs minister said; “Let gender issues be Opposition issues we know how to rectify them. We cannot forever remain marginalised.”
Okoa Kenya Referendum team chairman Paul Mwangi said they will incorporate views that will emerge in the final bill that will be presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Thursday’s launch was attended by 12 Governors, 23 Senators and over 72 Members of the National Assembly.