CORD has the numbers to push through referendum bid, says Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga has dismissed the plot by the ruling Jubilee Coalition to undermine the referendum bid by governors as inconsequential and said the Opposition has the numbers to amend the Constitution.
He made the remarks Thursday when addressing youth who will collect the one million signatures the Opposition needs to initiate the process.
While de-linking the push by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) for a vote to change the supreme law from that of the Council of Governors, the former Prime Minister said CORD will succeed because it controls a majority of the 47 county governments.
Raila said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee only holds sway over 22 counties to CORD’s 24, with one belonging to neither camp.
“As you can see, I control more governments than Uhuru. I am sure the referendum push will get the support of more than 24 counties,” said Raila.
This is the number of counties CORD needs to endorse the referendum as required by the Constitution. Focus in the coming days will be on the 2,200 Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) across the country who are crucial players in the referendum debate.
Yesterday Raila also expressed confidence that CORD would collect one million signatures, which is the minimum set by the Constitution to make a referendum bid valid.
The CORD and ODM leader said the youth would start collecting the signatures on Saturday in Nairobi’s Embakasi area, and move to Western Kenya on Sunday.
He appealed for the support of the youth to make the drive successful.
Meanwhile more governors allied to Jubilee bowed to pressure from President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto and opted out of the CoG’s referendum bid saying that they would instead opt for legislation at the National Assembly and Senate to address their concerns.
Yesterday, Raila said the Opposition has the support of civil society, religious groups, political caucuses and other groups.
Speaking at the same function, Kasipul Kabondo MP Silvance Osele said the move by some governors to opt for legislation to address their concerns was misinformed.
“I sit in the National Assembly and I know what happens there. There is the tyranny of numbers, which can prevent even genuine and people-friendly Bills from going through. I strongly believe a referendum is the correct avenue for addressing these concerns,” he said.
Homa Bay Women Representative Gladys Wanga said that Kenyans voted for the Constitution with a lot of hope for the future.
“As more days go by, the more we are losing that dream. The referendum push is about young people and children and if we don’t act now, all the gains achieved so far will be reversed,” she stated.
Rachel Nyokabi, a youth leader from Nairobi, said young people support the push for a referendum but are unaware of how they can help.
“Devolution is being threatened. How can be part of that team that will protect devolution,” she posed.
Raila said the referendum is meant to fortify devolution and county governments are being frustrated by the leadership of the national government. He said the sudden flurry of audit queries on counties was part of the scheme to convince voters that devolution had failed.
He claimed that billions of shilling were moved from Treasury to unknown accounts and locations in the final days of the 2013 General Election.
Raila said that Jubilee knew about the money that he said was moved by then Finance Minister Njeru Githae, who has since been appointed Kenya’s ambassador to the US.
He said the money was transferred by Jubilee sympathisers in the former government who were worried in case CORD won the elections and planned to frustrate it if it came to power.
The former PM said the Sh8 billion the Auditor General has unearthed is only a small portion of what was taken away by State officers and challenged the Government to get to the bottom of the matter.
He said officials in Treasury and the OP were the reason the Government has been facing a cash crisis and challenged Jubilee to explain the whereabouts of the Sh6 billion that was to be spent on the run-off, but which the Government later said would be given to the youth.