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I will accept outcome of the referendum, Raila

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Raila KisiiKisii, Kenya: Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said he will accept the outcome of the referendum vote, whichever way it goes.

Speaking during a fundraiser in Kisii County yesterday, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader rallied locals to support the plebiscite push and exuded confidence of winning.

“We will accept defeat if the Okoa Kenya initiative fails, but we are confident of clinching victory because the push is popular among Kenyans,” he said.

He faulted the Jubilee Government’s position that increasing money to counties to 45 per cent will burden tax payers, saying the benefits that will come with the Constitution will lead to better living standards for all Kenyans.

“Taxes will not increase if resources are devolved to counties because it will help create employment,” said the CORD leader.

At the same time, Raila said the survey indicating that the Council of Governors’ ‘Pesa Mashinani’ initiative was more popular than CORD’s Okoa Kenya initiative is misleading.

“Pesa Mashinani and Okoa Kenya are two sides of the coin,” he said.

Although Raila did not talk about the thorny issue of Sh8 billion Karen land saga, Suna East MP Junnet Mohammed vowed not apologise to Deputy President William Ruto for having implicated him in the scandal.

“We will expose all land grabbers and I will not apologise to Ruto as demanded by his lawyers,” he said.

But it is the debate on harambees that dominated Raila’s speech. Raila said he is not opposed to fund raisers and added that it is because of the ills affecting devolution that harambees are being conducted in the country. “I am not opposed to harambees in totality, but my position is that there should be transparency so that public resources are not misused. There will be no need for fundraisers if devolution succeeds in the country,” Raila said.

Sirisia MP John Waluke hailed Raila for his change of tune on fundraisers.

“When Raila said harambees should be banned, I was worried; but I am now happy that it has dawned on him that the initiatives are important for growth,” Waluke said.

Raila’s brother, nominated MP Oburu Odinga also supported harambees, but warned public officers not to misuse public resources.

“We have agreed as MPs that we can contribute in fundraising but what we are against using philanthropy to settle political scores,” he said.

Oburu also rooted for the parliamentary system of government, saying it is the only way to ensure accountability in the country.

Presidential system

“The presidential system is a burden and is failing the country; we should therefore adopt a parliamentary system that allows cabinet secretaries to appear in Parliament to ensure accountability,” he said.

The event was also attended by Kisii Governor James Ongwae, his deputy Joash Maangi, area senator Chris Obure and nominated Senator Janet Ongera.

Others included MPs Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Zepedeo Opore (Bonchari), Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Aden Keynan (Lagdera), Manson Nyamweya (South Mugirango), Kisii women representative Sally Otara and her Nyamira counterpart Alice Chae.

ODM succession politics dominated the event as Onyonka, who recently proposed Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero for Presidency in 2017 was challenged by Ongera to elaborate on his declaration.

Although Onyonka denied the allegation, he said Raila should groom other energetic leaders to ‘try their luck’.

He told Raila: “I did not say that you are too old to be President, but if you feel that you are too tired, you should pass the button to young turks.”

standardmedia.co.ke

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