Governors fire first salvo in vote push
Governors will on Saturday officially start collecting signatures in their bid for a constitutional amendment.
This is the first official action by the governors in their campaign for a referendum.
The governors say they want to place 12 issues before the people for consideration.
Collection of signatures is a requirement for a referendum petition, which must meet a constitutional threshold.
The campaign will kick off in Governor Isaac Ruto’s Bomet County, according to a press release from Council of Governors (CoG) communication manager Barrack Muluka.
Mr Ruto is the chairman of the council and one of the chief architects of the referendum campaign, dubbed Pesa Mashinani.
After the launch at Bomet Green Stadium, the governors will proceed to neighbouring Kericho County.
On Sunday morning, they move to Ivugwi PAG Church Grounds, Likuyani in Kakamega County before heading to Malava Township in the same county.
In the afternoon, they will be at Mwiboma Grounds in Mumias Town.
The list of 12 questions that will be developed into a Bill include amending the law to increase funds to the counties and strengthening the Senate by making it an Upper House with similar powers like the National Assembly.
However, the governors want the Senate to have the final say on matters affecting counties.
They want separate gazettement of laws between the national and county governments and a role in security matters.
SIMILAR PRIVILEGES WITH MPS
Impeachment of elected leaders, the council says, should be based on a uniform law and a clearing house for legislation should be created.
The governors also want the Constitution amended to give members of county assemblies similar privileges with MPs.
The governors insist that their push for constitutional amendment should not be mistaken with Cord’s Okoa Kenya.
On Saturday, Deputy President William Ruto met county assembly members and MPs from Uasin Gishu County in Eldoret and won assurances that they would not support the campaign for a referendum. Mr Ruto was in the town to flag off a fleet of new police vehicles.
“We just came from a General Election and the time for politicking is over. Let us work together to transform our economy for the betterment of our people,” he said.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos and MPs William Kisang’ (Marakwet West), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Edwin Barchilei (Soy) and Uasin Gishu Women Representative Eusila Ngeny attended the meeting.
Rift Valley threw its weight behind the Jubilee Coalition in General Election last year but a split has emerged over the referendum drive.
Governor Ruto, his Nandi, Kericho and Baringo counterparts Cleophas Lagat, Paul Chepkwony and Benjamin Cheboi respectively support the Pesa Mashinani push.
Those in opposition are Uasin Gishu‘s Mandago and Nakuru’s Kinuthia Mbugua.
Governor Mandago dismissed Council of Governors stance and cautioned his Bomet counterpart that he risked being ousted.
“Our stand is that we oppose the referendum and we are ready to replace Mr Ruto with a sober leader,” he declared.
In Nakuru, Governor Mbugua said he would return to Cord headquarters booklets used by the Okoa Kenya group to collect signatures that were confiscated in parts of Nakuru.
Mr Mbugua said he would send them back with a message that the people of Nakuru did not need a referendum.
‘PROPAGANDA, INSULTS AND INTIMIDATION’
Meru Governor Peter Munya accused Jubilee of trying to silence governors through “propaganda, insults and intimidation”.
“The Deputy President has been doing the rounds in the country, especially in Jubilee strongholds, saying governors are not with the government. Leaders should stop putting a wedge between governors and the people,” he told the Press.
In Embu, the Council of Elders — Nyangi Ndiiriri — hosted Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’ on Thursday in Runyenjes Town.
Its chairman, Mr Andrew Ireri, said the council was pushing for a referendum because Kenyans continued to suffer.
Mr Ireri said Jubilee should tell Kenyans why they were opposed to a referendum when it was anchored in the Constitution.
In Mombasa, Cord claimed it had collected about 500,000 signatures.
Reported by Kennedy Kimanthi, Tom Matoke, Barnabas Bii, Dennis Lubanga, Galgalo Bocha, Bernard Ogembo and KNA