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'No' meets hostile reception

BUSINESS
By | July 21st 2010

By Francis Ngige and Paul Mutua

Opponents of the Proposed Constitution got a hostile reception when they returned to Central and Eastern provinces.

The team, led by Cabinet Minister William Ruto, had to get police escort out of Kianyaga Market in Martha Karua’s Gichugu constituency after locals declined to listen to them.

This is the second time the team encountered hostility after a similar scenario in Kakamega last week.

Pro-'Yes' supporters shout slogans at the entourage of Higher Education Minister William Ruto in Kianyaga township, as anti-riot police watch, Tuesday. [PHOTO: George Mulala/STANDARD]

In their tour of the larger Kirinyaga District yesterday, police in anti-riot gear escorted the campaigners after word went round there was a likelihood of chaos.

The tour started at Sagana then went to Baricho, Kerugoya town, Kutus, Kianyaga and later Ngurubani market.

The Campaign Trail

Save for the low turn out, the team campaigned peacefully in other areas.

The campaign trail was attended by MPs Peter Gitau (Mwea), David Koech (Mosop), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Kiema Kilonzo (Mutitu). Former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile was also among them.

Things took an ugly turn in Kianyaga market when locals started shouting ‘Yes!’ and declaring that they were not ready to listen to ‘No’ leaders.

An attempt by Ruto and Assistant Minister Margaret Wanjiru to address a meeting at the local bus park was jeered, with shouts of ‘Yes!’

The group cut short their speeches, jumped into their cars and sped off.

Kibaki legacy

Despite the setback, Ruto and his group continued with rallies in other parts of the district, where they called on residents to reject the Proposed Constitution.

Ruto claimed some proponents of the document were plotting to frustrate President Kibaki’s final tenure.

He said: "I did not vote for Kibaki, but he is the President of the proponents and opponents of this draft law. I would not like his legacy to be dented by the enactment of a faulty constitution."

Other MPs renewed their calls to have US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger recalled for allegedly meddling in local affairs.

"We cannot continue to host an ambassador who is abusing our hospitality. He is behaving like an activist," said Kiema.

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