Kenya PM says no state funding for No team as President calls for sober debate
Nairobi (Alshahid)-The Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday has ruled out state-funding for those opposed to the proposed Constitution but reiterated his earlier stand that the government will fund the Yes team since cabinet and parliament agreed that the review process is a government project.
“We cannot give money to people to go and oppose what has already been agreed even in Parliament,” he told a Yes Campaign rally in Embakasi on Saturday.
Clearly contradicting himself the PM dismissed claims his team would use public money to fund its campaign, a day after the Yes secretariat led by ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyong’o, a close ally of the PM, listed Treasury as one of its donor.
“That is propaganda, the government has not said it is going to fund (the Yes team), but we cannot give you money to oppose the new constitution,” Raila said.
Odinga’s declaration that the review process is a government project and the State would therefore foot the bill for the Yes campaign drew the rage of Kenyans including ministers in the Yes camp.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo who is on the Yes camp, on Friday termed the PM’s proposal illegal.
“If review process falls under Agenda 4 like we are being told, the money would have been allocated to my docket and I am not aware of such a vote,” said the Justice Minister.
Those rooting for the use of tax payers’ money to fund Yes campaigns include majority Nyanza leaders and Imenti Central Member of Parliament Gitobu Imanyara.
However, speaking at the same rally President Mwai Kibaki called for sober debate on the constitution.
“In my view, after discussing this document (constitution) for 25 years, I urge you let us pass it without a lot fuss,” President Kibaki said.
The President went a step further to extend an olive branch to the No camp to reconsider their position adding amendments could be made after the referendum.
“This is our country and time has come for us to put aside personal interests and make a decision that will determine our future as Kenyans instead of quarrelling,” President Kibaki said
Meanwhile, the power struggles within the Yes team continue as Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said his ODM-Kenya party will meet next Thursday to decide whether to hold separate rallies after he was heckled at a joint rally in Uhuru Park a week ago by goons- for hire who he claims were sponsored by rival ODM party.
The VP said he would not tolerate intimidation and indiscipline by his political rivals. The VP spoke at the Wilson airport moments after jetting in from Juba, Sudan where he attended the swearing in of Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir.