, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – With 1.4 million signatures set to be verified by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Opposition is optimistic that time to ‘Okoa Kenya’ is ripe.
The signatures will be handed over to IEBC on November 4 in accordance with the Constitution for verification.
Once the commission ascertains that the initiative is supported by at least one million registered voters, IEBC shall submit the draft to each County Assembly for consideration within three months.
If a County Assembly approves the draft bill within three months after the date it was submitted, the Constitution requires that the “the Speaker of the County Assembly shall deliver a copy of the draft bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate that the County Assembly has approved it.”
The Okoa Kenya Secretariat, led by lawyer Paul Mwangi officially handed over the draft bill and signatures on Wednesday to CORD leaders led by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.
Odinga – who made clear that issues pertaining to the welfare of the country which he directs to the Executive should only be answered by President Uhuru Kenyatta – says the citizenry will now have a chance to decide their future.
To him, “things would have been different if the government had agreed to call for a dialogue way before things were this bad.”
“They thought we wanted power sharing. Now that they refused, we have taken what we know we can handle,” he said while giving a Dholuo proverb: “When you see the rains coming, carry the lightest of baskets. This is the basket that we have carried.”
Odinga has urged President Kenyatta to address issues the Opposition has been raising and more so corruption which he says is rampant in all levels of government.
“The jubilee Government has failed; they said we CORD needed the ‘salvation’, but they are also seeking salvation. They have rushed to the World Bank and IMF for salvation,” he sarcastically said causing a prolonged laughter from leaders attending the forum.
His co-principal Musyoka on his part said the Okoa Kenya initiative was irreversible while accusing the government of failure to address the challenges facing the country.
“There are too many challenges…people are like competing to steal from the public,” he lamented.
Also present “and ready to walk the journey” was NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua, Senator Moses Wetangula and other CORD leaders.
If the draft bill has been approved by a majority of the County Assemblies, the bill shall be introduced in Parliament where if passed, it shall be submitted to the President for assent in accordance with Article 255 (4) and (5).
The Okoa Kenya Movement which includes civil society groups and CORD, through the bill are pushing for a raft of amendments to the Constitution which will see devolution of more money and roles to the counties, a reform of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the strengthening of election management, land and inclusivity.