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"No" leaders call for immediate post-referendum consultations

BUSINESS
By | Aug 5th 2010 | 3 min read
By | August 5th 2010
BUSINESS
By PETER OPIYO

Politicians and clerics in the “No” team were united in calling for consultations over
the proposed Constitution but were divided on the integrity of the referendum.

While the politicians praised the Interim Independent Electoral Commission as having
“done fairly well”, the clerics claimed the process was marred by irregularities.

At separate media briefings at the Bomas of Kenya, they however called on Kenyans to
maintain peace, even as the clerics failed to concede defeat. The MPs, on their part
conceded defeat.

Higher Education Minister, William Ruto led eight MPs in praising the Interim Independent
Electoral Commission as having “done fairly well” and accepted the results, saying they
were democrats.

But in a statement read by National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary General, Peter
Karanja,  the clerics under the banner  Kenya Christian Church Leaders, claimed
irregularities continued into balloting and tallying phases.

“We are saddened by the fact that the pre-referendum process was marked by malpractices
and irregularities which continued right into the balloting and tallying phases. This
calls into question the validity of the process and its outcome,” said Karanja.

Bishop Gerry Kibarabara of Evangelical Churches of Kenya claimed they did not know how
the computer operations were applied at the tallying centre to compute results as Bishop
Mark Kariuki claimed their IT experts were denied entry into the tallying centre.

They however, could not give any evidence, when pressed further by journalists, with
Kibarabara waving away the media with a “there is no winner” answer.

Ruto said Kenyans have made their statements but pointed out that the two million who
voted against the document is a significant number that cannot be ignored.

Consultations needed

“As democrats we will accept the verdict of Kenyans. Since the country has decided that
amendments be conducted later, we are now proposing as the “No” team that immediate
consultations start on both sides,” said Ruto.

Ruto said that 55 per cent of the voters either rejected or abstained from the vote,
saying they are a majority and must be brought on board.

The MPs congratulated Kenyans for having voted peacefully and termed the two million that
Voted for them as “gallant Kenyans who resisted blackmail to point fundamental flaws in
the draft.”

“We want to single out the two million gallant Kenyans who resisted blackmail to point
fundamental flaws in the draft. We respect the verdict given by majority of voters. We
accept that verdict as democrats,” said Ruto.

Ruto however, did not comment on the possibility of a sack as a Cabinet Minister, saying
“I don”t think that is a discussion for now.”

The clerics said what they consider as contentious must be addressed immediately,
pointing out that only 30 per cent of registered voters endorsed the proposed
Constitution.

“Through out this process, the Christian Church has adopted the position that the
proposed Constitution contains various contentious issues whose implications are grave
for our nation. The results announced following the referendum do not in any way nullify
these contentions. They must be resolved soonest since all Kenyans agree that the issues
are contentious,” said Karanja.


They said as church leaders they played the prophetic role by warning Kenyans and that
they will remain steadfast in doing so. 16 church leaders signed the statement.

And those accompanying Ruto were, Information minister Samuel Poghisio and Regional
Development assistant Minister Lina Kilimo, MPs Kiema Kilonzo, Victor Munyaka, Cyrus
Jirongo, David Koech and Julius Kones.

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