Kalonzo warns of popular revolution if Jubilee scuttles bid for referendum.
Q. There seem to be a lot of constraints and sustained efforts by the Jubilee administration to derail the Okoa Kenya referendum push. What is your view on this?
A. First, the ship has set sail and no amount of intimidation and sabotage is going to kill our resolve. The Okoa Kenya referendum is now above CORD. It is for all Kenyans who want to see devolution take root in this country. We need to safeguard devolution, and that entitlement should be in the supreme law. We have to make deliberate efforts to fight negative ethnicity and restore order in institutions such as the National Land Commission. We know Jubilee is even registering children as voters in some of its strongholds due to fears over the referendum, and we are going to address that. We are asking the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to resist being misused by the State.
Q. CORD seems to be a divided house. How are you dealing with rebels who have given the referendum push a wide berth?
A. My counsel to those within CORD who have kept off this debate is that they should keep their peace, because it is the wiser thing to do, as opposed to going against the grain. Of course, if you keep quiet, you might look intelligent. However, those within CORD resisting the struggle are waving good-bye to being elected leaders because our initiative enjoys massive support from the public.
Q. But aren’t there those within CORD who have openly gone public to discredit the referendum?
A. We know some of those opposing the vote are doing so for monetary and other personal gains. They do not have the welfare of the larger public at heart. If it is money they are after, they will get it, because Jubilee has plenty, but they will have sold the country. They are a living lie.
Q. Comment on the move by some Jubilee associates to counter the referendum in court.
A. If there is any justice left in Kenya, the same should be evident if Jubilee chooses to use court action. However, seeking court injunctions is only going to make our referendum push more popular. Remember, if the public is pushed to the wall, it is likely to resort to a popular revolution.
Q. There are claims you and the other CORD principals, Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang’ula, are pushing for the plebiscite for personal political gains and to remain relevant ahead of the 2017 elections. What is your take on this?
A. There is no logic in that because, as I have stated, this referendum push is now above CORD. It has been taken over by Kenyans who want to restore dignity in organs created by our Constitution and protect the devolution gains made so far. Those making such claims are part of the propaganda machinery misleading the public and trivialising serious issues of national importance.
Q. What if the President opens doors for dialogue?
A. That does not happen in Africa, where leaders believe they are always right. It may be said, but it will be followed by inaction. African leaders should learn to review standpoints, and make public apologies the way former US president Bill Clinton did after an alleged love affair.
Q. The IEBC says it is not possible to conduct a referendum this year. Your opinion?
A. There could be some little logic in it. Our Okoa Kenya team will work closely with the IEBC to come up with a precise timetable for the referendum. If its pushed to January, next year, for example, that is not much of a problem.
Q. The battle for the referendum may collapse or succeed at the 24 county assemblies threshold vote. How prepared is CORD, and how many counties can you secure?
A. This referendum is a people’s thing and we are passing this message to everyone. MCAs were elected to represent people and they, therefore, have a duty to act patriotically and avoid being swayed by the State. CORD is putting issues in the open for all to see and make a choice between these issues and the ethnic politics being perpetuated by Jubilee. I’m sure once the Question Bill is prepared, it may look awkward for one to oppose the referendum. We are, therefore, comfortably sure of meeting the 24 counties threshold when that time comes.
Q. The question of who funds CORD has been raised several times. Some even see a foreign link. Is this the case?
A. At the initial stages, the funding is purely sacrifice from CORD leaders, supported by other Kenyans of goodwill. However, after the referendum question has been developed, the IEBC will take over and fund the process. In our campaigns, we are also going to depend on goodwill from friends and our own resources.
Q. When should the country expect the referendum question?
A. Okoa Kenya’s committee of experts, led by lawyer Paul Mwangi, is working on the Bill while the signature collection is going on. We are not giving any specific timelines because we do not want to rush the process. We want to avoid mistakes.
Q. There has been friction in CORD lately over who will be its presidential flag-bearer in 2017. Please comment on this.
A. The matter of who should be our presidential flag-bearer in 2017 has been sorted out among the three of us. We even discussed it during a recent retreat. What I want to assure Kenyans is that we are not going to be divided, because that is what our enemies in Jubilee want to see.
Q. Wiper Party elections have been delayed for months now; what is happening?
A. We are putting our house in order. We have also realised that Jubilee wants to infiltrate CORD coalition political parties holding internal elections and we want to avoid that.
Q. There is trouble in Machakos County over the working relationship between the governor, his deputy and the senator. What are you doing to resolve this as the party leader?
A. I have talked to the governor (Dr Alfred Mutua) and his deputy on the need for them to work together, because their fights are giving Wiper a bad image. I am scheduled to meet them soon to iron out that problem. As for the relationship between the senator and governor, talks are on with myself and Bishop Martin Kivuva as co-convenors. CORD is, however, also going to hold a meeting of its governors and senators in September to improve their working relationships.