CORD leader Raila Odinga woos Kilifi locals, says public vote will resolve ethnic bias
By PATRICK BEJA and Tobias Chanji | September 29th 2014
|Cord Leader Raila (middle), flanked by his Okoa Kenya Campaigners during the launch of the movement at Malindi grounds|
CORD leader Raila Odinga took his referendum push to Kilifi County yesterday and said the vote would help introduce an ethnic quota in employment.
The former Prime Minister said the referendum vote would ensure there is equitable employment for all ethnic groups and stop discrimination in sharing of public service opportunities.
“Once the referendum vote is passed, opportunities in employment such as police recruitment will be shared equitably under the ethnic quota. This system has worked well for Malaysia,” Raila said.
He said a formula will be worked out to ensure even the minority groups become part of the face of Kenya in terms of sharing state jobs and other opportunities.
Addressing his first referendum rally in Kilifi at Malindi’s Cleopatra grounds, Raila said the ethnic quota would offer a solution to tribalism and nepotism.
The CORD leader was accompanied by CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi), Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Boy Juma Boy (Kwale), Dr Agnes Zani (nominated) and parliamentary minority leader and Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu, among others.
The CORD team was scheduled to address a rally in Kilifi and Mtwapa yesterday.
This is the first time Raila has led his brigade to Kilifi, the home turf of coalition rebels led by Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro.
Raila said counties were being fair in demanding for 45 per cent, giving an example of Nigeria where federal governments of Nigeria take 48 per cent.
“From the 45 per cent, five per cent should be set aside as ward development to speed up development at the grassroots. We fought for introduction of devolution but this system faces great danger of collapsing because the Government is withholding funds while services such as health and agriculture have been devolved,” said the CORD leader.
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Raila claimed the national government was pushing for issuance of title deeds to hoodwink Kenyans while its real interest was in top leaders to share land whose 99-year lease has expired.
“Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu is busy pushing for issuance of millions of title deeds to cover up a scheme targeting land whose leases issued during the First World War have expired. That is why CORD wants the referendum to strengthen the National Land Commission to be fully in charge of land matters in consultation with the county governments,” Raila said.
The governor of Kwale, who accompanied the opponents of the referendum in Waa for a funds drive said governors were ready to listen to tangible proposals from the Government on how allocations to the counties would be increased.
The rally was snubbed by Coast CORD rebel politicians led by Kilifi North MP Mr Gideon Mung’aro, who was recently sacked by the coalition for working with Jubilee leaders. In Mung’aro’s team are Kilifi South MP Mustafa Idd, Malindi MP Dan Kazungu and Kilifi Woman Rep Aisha Jumwa who have since announced plans to campaign against the referendum, among others.
Yesterday, Munga’ro led the rebels to Kwale where they rubbished the referendum calls, saying that governors must first account for the money allocated to them before they demand for more.
Munga’ro said the referendum was a ploy to make leaders who lost the election relevant and warned against putting the country in an election mood, saying it was effecting tourism sector.
Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani called on the Coast people not to support Raila’s push for the poll, saying the region did not benefit when he was the Prime Minister.
But Kilifi Members of the County Assembly led by deputy speaker Teddy Mwambire declared they supported the referendum vote, dismissing the rebel MPs as lone rangers and self-seekers.
Raila dismissed claims by Mung’aro’s team that they were working with the Government to enhance development in the county.
“Politics of pleading with the President to bring development to the constituencies has no place in Kenya. We want the Constitution to clearly show how resources are allocated for equitable development and not on the basis of loyalty,” Raila said.
Wetang’ula said the referendum was pushing for allocation of more funds to the counties because the lives of Kenyans have not changed since the national government was clinging onto most of the funds even as it devolved some of its functions. “More funds are required in the counties to finance key sectors such as education through bursaries and agriculture,” he said.
Khalwale claimed coastal counties had the lowest transition rate of about 10 per cent from primary to secondary schools because of lack of bursary funds to support students from poor backgrounds.
He also claimed there was alarming tribalism in the Government in terms of employment, saying it must be addressed through the Constitution.
Kingi, Madzayo and Omar pleaded with Coast residents to back the referendum, saying it was the best way to seek allocation of more funds from the national government and that the vote was not to assist Raila to get to power.
“We cannot offer services in Kilifi as we should because of constrained budget. Our first budget was Sh10 billion but we ended up being allocated only Sh5 billion,” Kingi said.
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