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Raila: ‘No’ camp shielding illegal land

BUSINESS
By | May 6th 2010

By BEAUTTAH OMANGA and VITALIS KIMUTAI

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has once again hit out at those opposed to the Proposed Constitution, dismissing them as liars.

The PM told Kenyans to be wary of leaders ganging up in the ‘No’ camp to protect ill-gotten land.

"They are scared the new law will take away huge parcels they illegally acquired. They are busy confusing the public on the document and particularly the chapter on land," said the premier.

Raila said the proposed law captures the "interest of more than 40 million Kenyans".

And as he spoke, Higher Education Minister William Ruto defended his stand, saying it has nothing to do with his differences with the premier.

Ruto said the draft had contentious issues that should have been addressed ahead of the referendum.

"Those claiming I am opposing the draft due to differences with the PM are mistaken. There is nowhere in the draft that Raila’s name features," Ruto said. Speaking during a morning talk show in a local radio station yesterday, Ruto said some Cabinet ministers were supporting the draft because they feared being sacked.

"There are also MPs especially from Rift Valley, who support the draft in the hope that they will be appointed to the Cabinet if those in the ‘No’ side are relieved of their duties," he claimed.

And speaking at the United Nations headquarters, Raila said the clauses on land were a replica of a land policy passed by the Cabinet and approved by Parliament.

He said community land, privately owned parcels and public utility land would adequately be protected under the new law.

The PM spoke in the presence of Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaban who, like Ruto, is opposed to the proposed law.

cabinet slot

But Ruto said the draft constitution was "far more important than a Cabinet position".

"You can be a minister today and an ordinary citizen tomorrow and the Constitution will affect you irrespective of your standing in the society," he said.

The Eldoret North MP appealed to the media to be fair in the referendum debate and give equal airtime and space to the ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ sides.

"The media should not create an impression they are supportive of the ‘Yes’ side and against the ‘No’ side in the debate," he said.

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