Raila cancels Lamu rally over insecurity
Cord leader Raila Odinga cancelled a planned referendum campaign tour of Lamu County on Saturday because of security concerns and the ongoing police curfew in area, the Sunday Nation has learnt.
Mr Odinga, however, visited Tana River County to drum up support for the Okoa Kenya referendum initiative as governors separately laid out tough conditions which they want met if they are to drop their separate push for a plebiscite.
Cord leaders visiting the Coast pulled back on their previous plans to extend their campaigns to Lamu after local leaders raised concerns over clashing security and political issues, which they feared opponents could take advantage of.
“They were concerned about the police curfew and the fear it could be misused if the rallies extended beyond the stipulated time. There were also fears the area is still volatile,” said Mr Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango.
Mr Onyango said Cord intends to visit Lamu in late October when they feel it is safe enough and after the curfew has been lifted.
Mr Odinga was set to lead Okoa Kenya leaders in campaigning for the referendum in Lamu this weekend but their programme has been redrawn to include Kwale instead.
CRITICISED THE PRESIDENCY
In Tana River, Mr Odinga criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, and said they were misleading Kenyans on the formula used to arrive at the billions sent out to the counties.
Speaking at Hola Stadium, the former premier said the President and his deputy were relying on three-year-old budget figures, which if updated to the most current accounts, would raise the amounts channelled to counties dramatically.
“They are using a three-year-old budget which shows county government as receiving 43 per cent while its only disbursing 12 to cover the numerous devolved activities in the counties,” said Mr Odinga.
As he spoke, President Kenyatta who is on an official visit in the US opposed the raging referendum calls and urged proponents to first allow full implementation of the Constitution, terming it one of the most progressive in the world.
The Head of State told those calling for a review of the document to spare Kenyans the unnecessary costs and disruption of development.
“Leave our Constitution alone because it is the most progressive and let us implement it to benefit Kenyans,” the President said. “You don’t change what has not been implemented just the same way you don’t start building a good house and destroy it when it is midway to build a new one.”
He spoke as Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Isaac Bomet visited Nakuru and Busia counties where he said the push for a referendum by governors would be abandoned if Parliament approved allocation of more funds to the counties.
Speaking at Njoro’s Mauche area, the Bomet Governor said the governors’ push for more funds was geared towards better services for all Kenyans and had no link with Cord’s push for a referendum.
Mr Ruto, who was flanked by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, said the CoG had drafted a Bill seeking extra funds but added the same would have to be placed before all county assemblies for approval and eventual presentation to the National Assembly for consideration.
“We cannot allow Nairobi to make that Bill for funds as we know they will cook the same to suit their whims. What we want is a homegrown Bill from the Council of Governors and approved by all (county) assemblies to be taken to Parliament and later assented to by the President, guaranteeing more funds will be allocated to county governments as a matter of course not at the whims of an individual,” he said.
Mr Oparanya said the Pesa Mashinani campaign was not about parties but a plea seeking to pressurise the government to abide by decisions made by the Commission of Revenue Allocation that gave county governments Sh274 billion only for the government to release Sh226 billion.
In Tana River, Mr Odinga urged the public to support the process and sign in large numbers, adding that it was through devolution anchored in the Constitution that Kenyans had started witnessing development at the grassroots level.
He further criticised President Kenyatta’s numerous visits and donations across the country and asked where the money was coming from.
Mr Odinga repeated his controversial claim that Sh15 billion was lost from the Office of the President around the date of last year’s General Election and must be accounted for.
“The President is travelling from one county to another contributing a million in every fund-raising yet his monthly salary is only two million, where does he get the other millions to participate in those harambees,” he asked.
The Jubilee administration has countered that the transactions were conducted before they assumed office, and while Mr Odinga was still in government and said they shouldn’t bear the blame.
The Office of the President (OP) has been hard-pressed to explain the suspicious transfer of Sh8.3 billion into and out of the government’s secret security accounts.
Large transactions happened during the 2013 transition period, raising audit concerns. The Auditor-General’s report, released in July, flagged some of the cash movements.
“During the year under review, the ministry transferred a total amount of Sh8.3 billion to Kenya Police Service through contra-entries on cash book and ministry headquarters recurrent bank account amounting to Sh1.4 billion and Sh6.9 billion respectively.
“On March 14, 2013 alone, Sh2 billion was transferred through account number 0-101-000-6530101 through voucher number 272 under the account name Police Commissioner which was closed in December 2012.”
In his company were Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, House Minority Chief Whip Thomas Madegwu and Taita Taveta Women Rep Joyce Lay. Mr Khalwale said the aim of the referendum was to bring equality in job opportunities.
“They are opposed to referendum because they want to continue ruling on the basis of tribalism while the aim of referendum is to ensure that the country has the face of all the 42 tribes,” said Mr Khalwale.
Highlighting the top most security and treasury jobs, Mr Khalwale said the two heads were dishing out job opportunities to people from communities related to them.