, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – Opposition leader Raila Odinga was on Monday morning expected to give the way forward on the Okoa Kenya referendum drive after accusing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of not taking it seriously.
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy has accused the IEBC of approaching the exercise of verifying the 1.4 million signatures of those in support of the referendum ‘flippantly’ and given failure of the commissioners to meet with them last week as proof of this assertions.
“When we were last here on February 16 they asked us to give them 10 days to complete the exercise. Those 10 days have come and gone,” Odinga’s co-principal Moses Wetangula said on March 15 when their call on the IEBC for an update came to naught.
The IEBC has however denied either snubbing the opposition leaders or approaching the signature verification exercise ‘flippantly.’
Chairman Issack Hassan said the Okoa Kenya secretariat had been informed that the commissioners would not be available to meet with them on March 15.
As for the delay in the signature verification process, he said CORD has itself to blame. “We advised them to submit soft copies, they submitted hard copies.”
He did however give the assurance that the exercise would be concluded as soon as is reasonably possible given the limited number of personnel available to them.
“The verification process is in its final stage of capturing the hard copy booklets into soft copy. If the initiative meets the one million threshold as specified in Article 257 (4) of the Constitution, the Commission will submit the bill to County Assemblies for consideration.”
Article 257 of the Constitution of Kenya requires that for the law to be amended by popular initiative, those seeking to amend it must first collect a million signatures of registered voters which they will hand over to IEBC together with a draft Bill for verification.
CORD through the Bill is pushing for a raft of amendments to the Constitution which will see devolution of more money and roles to the counties and a reform of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.