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Kigumo MP defects to 'Yes'

BUSINESS
By | July 19th 2010

By Moses Njagih, Patrick Muriungi and Boniface Gikandi

The change of heart by Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau on Sunday is evidence that a revitalised effort by the ‘Yes’ team to win over leaders in Central Province is bearing fruit.

Kamau was welcomed to the Green campaign by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta during a well attended ‘Yes’ rally in the latter’s Kigumo constituency. Campaigning alongside Uhuru was Environment minister John Michuki, another of the recent converts in the ‘Yes’ brigade that has intensified its tours of the province.

An ecstatic Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau (right) with Nairobi Metropolitan minister Njeru Githae (centre) and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta after they welcomed him to the ‘Yes’ team. Photo: Boniface Gikandi/Standard

Michuki joined the Green campaign last week during a rally by President Kibaki, after initially expressing reservations about the Proposed Constitution.

Two weeks ago, Kamau opted to join the ‘No’ camp, after his move to have the referendum on the Proposed Constitution postponed failed.

He even sponsored a Motion in Parliament seeking to have the referendum date moved to a later date to facilitate consensus building, but it was stillborn. On Sunday, the MP said he had received assurances from President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that the contentious issues would be addressed once the Proposed Constitution was passed.

"Having got that assurance, I need not doubt the word of the President, and thus I have decided to join the ‘Yes’ team, which I am sure will win at the referendum," said Kamau.

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The MP also asked church leaders to take the word of the two coalition leaders contentious issues would be addressed after the referendum, and urge their followers to vote yes.

Kibaki’s honour

Uhuru urged Central Province residents to overwhelmingly vote for the draft during the referendum, saying it catered for their interest, including on matters of representation.

"We appear to have forgotten very fast what pain the current Constitution has occasioned us. We have suffered due to its inadequacies, and that is why we must own the new draft up and support it at the referendum," said Uhuru at a rally at Kirere market. The Deputy PM was accompanied by Michuki, Nairobi Metropolitan minister Njeru Githae and 10 MPs in the weekend campaigns.

Michuki urged Central Province residents to especially vote for the draft to honour President Kibaki’s legacy as the President who promulgated a new constitution.

"Join us and ensure we give our President this big honour as the one who will sign a new Constitution for the nation," said Michuki.

Githae said the ‘Yes’ team was ready to hunt for votes among those who are still undecided.

"Even the Bible tells us to leave the 99 goats, and go for the one that is lost. That is what we have done in the search for Kamau, and we will also go and hunt for more," he said.

Others present were assistant Minister Lewis Nguyai, and MPs Elias Mbau, David Ngugi, Johnstone Muthama, Ferdinand Waititu, David Njuguna, Maina Kamau and Clement Wambugu.

Elsewhere, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka led a strong team of ten MPs, including three Cabinet, and several Assistant ministers in drumming up support for the Proposed Constitution in Meru North.

The VP urged the Meru community to vote as a bloc for the Proposed Constitution, saying it liberates the country from many years of misrule as a result of too much powers vested on the Executive in the current constitution.

Only two days after retired President Moi took the ‘No’ campaigns in the same area, the ‘Yes’ team descended in Maua town and urged Kenyans to pass the Proposed Constitution, saying it guaranteed equitable distribution of national resources, besides empowering citizens.

Kalonzo urged Eastern Province to vote for the draft, saying it would herald a new dawn for Kenya.

"I urge you to vote to a man for the proposed law, and support the President. I know Kibaki beat me in the presidential vote here in Meru, and I want you to stand with him even now," said the VP.

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi castigated the former President for joining the ‘No’ campaigns, and accused him of having frustrated reforms including efforts to write a new constitution during his 24 years in power.

"I was saddened and shocked when I saw the former President coming here and urging you to reject the Proposed Constitution, yet he locked all efforts for reforms in this country for more than two decades," said Kiraitu.

Other Cabinet ministers, who addressed the huge crowd and urged Kenyans to vote in favour of the Proposed Constitution, were Joseph Nyaga, Najib Balala, as well as Assistant ministers Mwangi Kiunjuri, Nderitu Mureithi, Kareke Mbiuki and Dr Kilemi Mwiria.

Nyaga praised the two principals, (Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga) and the VP for uniting to give Kenyans a new law.

"The current constitution is favourable only to the rich man. Let us pass the Proposed Constitution which empowers everyone," said Nyaga.

Balala, who is the Tourism Minister, said Coast Province is solidly behind the proposed law.

"A new constitution would ensure stability. The current one largely contributed to violence during general elections. It was worse in 1997," said the Mvita MP.

Balala asked Kibaki and Raila to tolerate ministers and their assistants who are opposed to the Proposed Constitution, saying they should not be sacked.

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