Support Cord referendum at your own risk, says URP
DEPUTY President William Ruto’s party URP has warned its members to desist from supporting Cord’s calls for a national referendum. URP secretary general Fred Muteti, speaking to the Star yesterday, said the party has taken the position that it opposes the referendum.
“We are in government and, naturally, the position of the party is that we do not support the referendum as pushed by the Opposition Cord. Our members elected on the ticket are advised so and whoever goes against this position will be considered to have supported the ideologies of Cord, which is contrary to the Political Parties’ Act,” he said.
Cord, under the leadership of principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, have been pushing for a national referendum to amend the constitution “on critical challenges facing the nation”, including the escalating cost of living, insecurity, corruption, disbandment of the IEBC and what they term marginalization by government.
Muteti said both URP and TNA are approaching their members across the country to campaign against the referendum, saying it will be an uphill task for Cord to drum up support for a plebiscite in the ruling alliance’s strongholds.
He urged governors to stop issuing threats, “yet the national government has given them over 43 per cent of revenue, way beyond the constitutional minimum of 15 per cent”.
“The national government has just given the county governments a lot of money and to call for a referendum now is a pure attempt to blackmail the government. Governors should appreciate that they are not the only ultimate decision makers in the counties as there are other stakeholders,” Muteti concluded.
Meanwhile, MPs affiliated to Jubilee have urged their supports to ignore Cord’s calls for the referendum and instead concentrate on development issues.
Kericho Senator Charles Kerich, his Kiambu counterpart Kimani Wamatangi, Nominated senators Martha Wangari, Naisula Lesuuda, and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, accused Cord of putting the country into an unending campaign mode.
Keter said Kenyans, “are tired of being engaged in endless politicking”, adding, “it would be difficult for the Opposition to win a referendum”. Keter questioned the wisdom of Opposition leaders’ calling for the dissolution of the electoral commission whenever they lose an election.
“These institutions are for posterity, we cannot dissolve institutions whenever we have issues. We must develop their capacity, instead of dissolving them. Kenyans went to the polls last year and brought in Jubilee, those who are making noise want to get to the top leadership of this country through the backdoor. They should just wait for 2017, when we will also defeat them as they have proven that they have no capabilities to lead,” Keter added.
Wamatangi, in sentiments shared by Wangari, said the issues and Question Cord is pushing for in the referendum are unrealistic, and the entire agitation for a plebiscite is, “just a way of finding a means to join the Jubilee Government”.
“It is primitive of Cord to ask Kenyans to go for a referendum on issues which are already captured in the same constitution. The right to a good life, security, anti-corruption and devolution are all in the constitution – what else does Cord want if not a means to join the Jubilee Government?” Keter asked.
Sudi lashed out at the Opposition for making unrealistic demands, saying if Cord really want to see this country move forward, they should not go the referendum way.