UHURU TO LAUNCH ‘NO’ REFERENDUM CAMPAIGN
JUBILEE is planning a massive campaign against the push for the proposed referendums, to be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The campaign will argue that what the Governors and Cord are pushing for will be too expensive, and the government will have no choice but to increase taxes.
The decision was announced at a meeting of the United Republican Party National Executive Council and chairpersons of party branches held yesterday in Nakuru.
The URP’s NEC meeting also resolved to immediately expel Council of Governors chairman Isaac Rutto, and not waste time taking him through a disciplinary process.
The meeting was closed-door, but a source said: “It was decided that since Rutto has already defied summons by the Senate to appear and explain audit queries in the budget of Bomet County, we will just go ahead and send him packing. Of course the real reason is his push for a referendum against the party position.”
The URP meeting resolved that the No campaign launch would be preceded by three days of intensive campaigns in Bomet, Kericho and Nandi, the three counties whose governors have refused to drop the push for the Pesa Mashinani referendum.
“On the first day, there will be four rallies-cum-harambees in each of the five constituencies of Bomet County. That is a total of 20 rallies in a day attended by more than 20 MPs. Six choppers are to be hired,” the source at the Nakuru meeting said.
The party resolved to form a committee of experts that will break down the expenditure of every county to show the public why the referendum proposals will make life worse for everyone.
“The idea is to show that after money has gone to health, education and repayment of foreign loans, the government will be left with only Sh50 billion, which is not enough for development,” another party member in the meeting said.
“The argument will be whether we need a referendum or whether some of these issues can be legislated in Parliament in a manner that does not harm the economy or burden the mwananchi,” the second source said.
URP acting party chairman Barre Shill confirmed that Governor Rutto would eventually be forced out. “Any person who had subscribed to URP must adhere to its rules and regulations or leave.”
Shill said the meeting resolved to push all the party’s elected leaders to account for all public funds allocated to them.
“He [Rutto] has abandoned the party as he has refused to attend all our NEC, Parliamentary Group and Governors’ Group meetings in the last three months. The referendum issue has been discussed exhaustively by all party organs and our position is that any constitutional issues must be dealt with by Parliament for the time being,” Shill said.
Shill added that branch chairmen from all the 47 counties had ratified this position. “Even the Bomet chairman, who is Rutto’s deputy Governor, Mr Stephen Mutai, is here – and he agrees with us. Rutto is obviously representing only his individual interests,” Shill said.
“You do not have to be told who he is working for as it has been seen that every time URP talks about Rutto, Cord members are very fast in reacting in his defence. We are taking issues of party fidelity and loyalty very seriously from now on,” he added.
Secretary General Fred Muteti said: “It is true that we will punish him and any other errant governors who are pushing the Pesa Mashinani initiative while refusing to account for billions of shillings allocated to them. We are ready to go the whole way, and, when we do, it will be with full force”. Executive Director David Koech called on Rutto to “come back home and abandon his push for a referendum”.
“As a party, we are saying that if his issues are genuine, let him suspend his campaign for the time being in order to separate it from the ongoing Okoa Kenya initiative. Then let him come back home and engage the party structures and we will support him,” he said.
The party further resolved to rally its members to practice tolerance, noting that the heightened political temperature, especially in the Rift Valley, should not be a threat to co-existence.