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Coast leaders clash at William Ruto meeting over referendum

                          Gideon Mung’aro          PHOTO: COURTESY

Kilifi, Kenya: Kilifi County rebel ODM MPs joined Deputy President William Ruto in opposing referendum calls by CORD and the Council of Governors.

CORD and the governors have called for constitutional amendments to among other things address security concerns and increase funding to counties.

At yesterday’s meeting in Kilifi, MPs Gideon Mung’aro and Mustafa Idi spoke strongly against the referendum push, a stand dismissed by local MCAs and Governor Amason Kingi (pictured below).

Kingi and MCAs said the leaders were opposing the referendum without solid reasons. The leaders spoke at Kijiwe Tanga village in Kilifi County where Ruto was launching 10 tractors bought by the county government.

As Mung’aro, who was recently removed from the post of CORD’s Minority Whip in Parliament, stepped up criticism of ODM, Ward Reps took him head on, declaring they would support the referendum.

They told Ruto not to listen to the ODM rebels. ODM’s Nominated Ward Rep Anderson Ngombo Kingi told Ruto, “these MPs are misleading you and they think they are with the people. We will campaign for the referendum.”

Earlier, Kingi had told the gathering that it is not right for the rebels to declare opposition to the referendums before knowing what the local people want or think about the clamour.

But Mung’aro, who described ODM as dictatorial, claimed tycoons and politicians from Mombasa were spearheading the referendum in Coast to disrupt Jubilee’s development agenda.

Other leaders who spoke in Kilifi yesterday included Dan Kazungu (Malindi) Harrison Kombe (Magarini), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi), Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi Senator) and nominated Senator Mvita Mshenga.

“In our manifesto, we did not say if we lost an election we will call for a national referendum. We oppose calls to change the Constitution and we will campaign against the move,” said Mustafa of Kilifi South.

“In CORD, Coast region has the highest number of MPs, but we are always left out. This is because we are not united,” said Munga’ro who accused ODM of misleading Coast residents over the land question.

Mung’aro said he will launch a unity campaign in Coast and push for rejection of the referendum when the National Assembly goes on recess.

“During the recess, we will lead a campaign to unite the region and rally it against the referendum,” Mung’aro said.

 

Ibrahim Sane of Garsen also opposed the referendum, claiming CORD and governors supporting it were against development.

But MCAs interjected, accusing the MPs of purporting to speak for Kilifi residents.

“You (MPs) have failed to consult us and disregarded Ward Reps who have now been labeled rats. We will join hands with other rats and campaign for the referendum,” said Elina Mbaru, who spoke on behalf of the MCAs.

Kingi dismissed MPs opposed to the referendum, saying a responsible leader would educate the electorate to make an informed decision on the matter.

“I will move around and seek views from my people after I’ve explained to them what the issues are. I’ll follow their decision,” said Kingi.

The DP said all the issues raised by proponents of the referendum could be solved through other means and warned the push will raise the country’s political temperatures.

“The issue of land for example does not need a referendum. If one has stolen land, he should just return it. We don’t need a referendum to repossess it,” said Ruto.

Ruto said CORD leaders are using the land issue to endear themselves to Coast resident and reiterated the government’s commitment to solve the land problem in the region.

“You can lie to some people sometime but you can’t lie to all people all the time...some did not believe that Jubilee government will solve the land problem,” said Ruto.

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