Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat lauded for ditching plebiscite
By Titus Too
| September 30th 2014
Nandi, Kenya: The decision by Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat to withdraw from the Pesa Mashinani referendum push has been praised by North Rift leaders, who said the move will consolidate URP's strength in the region.
Nandi Senator Stephen Sang, Women Rep Zipporah Kering, MPs Julius Melly (Tinderet), Cornelly Serem (Aldai) and Kirwa Bitok (Mosop) were all unanimous that the move will unify the county's leadership.
"I am happy that the governor has finally listened to the residents, who have all along been against the referendum," said Sang, who has been spearheading campaigns against referendum calls in the region.
The Aldai MP advised North Rift leaders to consult amongst themselves whenever they want to make decisions that affects the county.
"Parliamentary processes can address increment of revenue allocations to ensure counties are adequately funded and are provided for in the Constitution. Increments can be made every year," said Mr Serem.
The latest development is viewed as a breakthrough for the Jubilee alliance's political strategy of using senators to conduct campaigns against Council of Governor's (CoG) referendum push, under which Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Sang were to deliver the North Rift region.
Sources within URP hinted yesterday that the next focus is the South Rift region, where they expect Kericho Senator Charles Keter to convince party leaders still supporting referendum push to decamp.
On Sunday, Lagat ditched his support for the Pesa Mashinani push after intense pressure from the electorate in Mosop, where the leaders had attended a funds drive in aid of more than 51 churches, presided over by Faruk Kibet, an aide to Deputy President William Ruto.
"We are saying No to the referendum but we also want assurance from MPs and the Senate that they will jealously guard devolution in line with Article 96 (1) of the Constitution," said Lagat after he was pressed hard to declare his stand.
Murkomen, who spoke to The Standard on telephone yesterday, also welcomed the step taken by the governor saying the change of heart would bring unity to the county.
"Senate is committed to protecting all counties to achieve progress and deliver quality services to the electorate. Unity among leaders will foster development," said the Senator.
The leaders also condemned the wave of political violence that has been experienced in parts of the country, and called for peace.
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