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Karua becomes face of No camp as she takes on BBI

POLITICS
By Ndungu Gachane | March 1st 2021

Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua during the ‘Linda Katiba Campaign’ launch at Serena Hotel, Nairobi, on February 1. [File, Standard]

With more than 40 county assemblies having passed the proposed Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Deputy President William Ruto’s reluctance to lead a campaign against it, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua is emerging as the de facto leader of the No campaign.

Karua, through her Linda Katiba lobby group, believes that most assemblies did not conduct adequate public participation and MCAs were only impressed by the car grant to approve the Bill. 

The former Justice minister described the referendum Bill as fraudulent and declared that she will lead the No camp in a bid to stop the State from mutilating the 2010 Constitution. 

“We are ready; we shall break down the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to the people and we shall demonstrate to them that this is a fraud. We shall rely on other volunteers to educate our people,” Karua said. 

She claimed the 2010 Constitution has been cannibalised and called for its full implementation before any amendments are proposed.

While distancing the Linda Katiba Initiative from the deputy president, the Narc Kenya leader said the DP has not publicly opposed the 2010 Constitution and that any effort to associate the lobby group with him was an insult meant to reduce the country into either Kieleweke or Tangatanga Jubilee factions. 

CREATING A SERIOUS PROBLEM

ODM leader Raila Odinga linked the lobby group to Tangatanga, claiming it could be a ploy by Ruto to silently back the anti-BBI crusaders.

But Karua vowed to stay put and stop the BBI proponents from mutilating the Constitution, saying they were scheming to pass BBI by hook or crook. 

The Narc-Kenya leader said by popularising the Bill, which has far-reaching implications, President Uhuru Kenyatta was creating a serious problem for his successor.

“Counties will not get the proposed 35 per cent of the county allocation due to the prevailing financial constraints and the president is creating a problem for his successor,” Karua noted. 

She challenged the government to include the 35 per cent allocation to counties in the 2021-2022 financial year if they have the goodwill and were committed to increasing resources to devolved units. 

This comes after Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana withdrew his support to Linda Katiba over what he said was the electorate’s backing for the BBI report. 

“Many will be called but few will be chosen. The #LindaKatiba campaign continues uninterrupted. Aluta continua,” Karua said.

She added, “the elected leaders and civil servants drumming support for BBI are less than 3,000 while Kenyan voters are over 15 million. We must reject intimidation and fear mongering and exercise judgement.”

Karua is known not to shy away from taking a tough political stand and even goes against the grain on some national matters. 

In 2009 she resigned from Cabinet citing frustrations from the Mwai Kibaki-led administration. 

The Narc Kenya leader had expressed displeasure with handling of reforms and appointment of judges by former President Kibaki.

In her resignation, Karua claimed her docket had been countermanded by the Office of the President, and she was sidelined before new judges were picked and sworn-in at State House, Nairobi while she was on a foreign trip.

The former Gichugu MP also defied calls to dissolve Narc Kenya to join Jubilee Party in 2017. 

Karua went against the Jubilee wave in Mt Kenya to battle it out with Anne Waiguru for the Kirinyaga governorship. After losing to Waiguru, she put up a spirited legal battle. 

From High Court to Court of Appeal and then to Supreme Court, Karua lost the election petition. Dissatisfied by the Supreme Court decision, she filed a petition at the East African Court of Justice, where she won round one. 

The East African Court of Justice awarded her Sh2.5 million as compensation owing to the Supreme Court’s failure to uphold the rule of law in hearing her election petition.

Justices Monical Mugenyi, Charles Nyawello and Charles Nyachae ruled that the State infringed on Karua’s right to access justice when the Supreme Court dismissed her election petition against Waiguru, saying it was time barred.

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