Cord names team to push referendum
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) leaders Tuesday unveiled their referendum strategy and named four lawyers to sit on a Committee of Experts (CoE) to spearhead the campaign.
The coalition’s joint parliamentary group meeting attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga, his Wiper Democratic Movement counterpart Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, also named four caucuses to work with the experts in driving the Opposition’s referendum agenda.
Lawyer Paul Mwangi — who was Mr Odinga’s coalition advisor in the Grand Coalition government — will chair the committee of experts whose members are lawyer Kethi Kilonzo, former Labour permanent secretary Beatrice Kituyi and former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights member Khalef Khalifa.
Mr Mwangi succeeded Mr Miguna Miguna as Mr Odinga’s legal advisor in January 2012.
Mr Khalifa is the executive director of the Mombasa-based Muslims for Human Rights.
The National Council of Advisers, a political caucus, the National Referendum Committee and the Secretariat, all of which will be based in Nairobi will take charge of different segments of the referendum campaign, including delivery of a petition by citizens who support the move.
Tuesday’s meeting provided an opportunity for a truce between the Cord leadership and rebelling MPs.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Kitui Senator David Musila and MPs Joseph ole Nkaissery (Kajiado Central), Ababu Namwamba (Budalang’i), Onyango Koyoo (Muhoroni), John Munuve (Mwingi North), Adan Keynan (Eldas) and Ben Momanyi (Borabu) who have recently either criticised or seen as opposed to Cord’s stand on some national issues, were present.
Inside sources said the joint parliamentary group meeting resolved to firmly deal with dissent. The main casualty of the resolution was Malindi Town MP Gideon Mung’aro who those present resolved should be kicked out as Minority Chief Whip.
MPs from the Coast Province were given up to the end of Wednesday to nominate one of their own to replace Mr Mung’aro, who has in the recent past been accused of gravitating towards the ruling Jubilee Coalition.
The meeting resolved to name a new whip Thursday. Mr Mung’aro mobilised MPs to attend Tuesday’s talks, but he did not attend the five-hour meeting.
Sources at the talks said Cord’s push for referendum questions would be narrowed down to electoral and security changes and matters touching on devolution including fixing the allocation to counties at 40 per cent of the most current national Budget.
“Cord parliamentary group unanimously endorses the proposed national referendum and fully enjoins itself to work tirelessly towards its realisation and success to stem the tide of corruption, nepotism, tribalism, insecurity and the long list of injustices crippling our people,” the leaders said in a statement issued after the talks.
The joint statement read by Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o said that Mr Mwangi’s team would be in charge of formulating the referendum issues.
Said Prof Nyong’o: “The Committee of Experts is forthwith charged with responsibility of crafting and formulating the referendum issues. This team will be increased as appropriate with regard to its workload and experts requirement.”
Cord said the National Referendum Committee would be in charge of preparing for the referendum while the Council of Advisers would advise top Cord leaders.
Besides the push for a referendum, the Opposition leaders also demanded that the recent police recruitment be nullified.
“We demand a repeat exercise of the police recruitment that will be fair, transparent, equitable and reflective of the diversity of our nation,” they said.
They further demanded the publication of the names of senior public officials recruited or sacked in the last one year.