Enock Amukhale, Yusuf Masibo and Harrison Kivisu @PeopleDailyKe
Several Opposition leaders at the weekend gave conditions for supporting the proposed referendum. While Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi said the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) must be overhauled first, his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula said the referendum must not be about creating more political positions but improving devolution by increasing resources allocated to counties.
At the Coast, governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) said they will only support a referendum that takes care of the interests of the region.
Mudavadi said IEBC must be overhauled as a priority before the country decides whether to hold a referendum on the Constitution.
Speaking in Emuhaya during the burial of MP Omboko Milemba’s mother Elina Anuna, Mudavadi called on leaders to push for the disbandment of IEBC, which he said, cannot be trusted to preside over a referendum.
“You can put up with a bad leader for five years but imagine how long you will have to live with a Constitution bungled by an electoral body,” said Mudavadi.
While he supported the campaigns for a referendum, Wetang’ula on his part, insisted the review of the Constitution should be about increasing allocation of resources to counties, not creating for positions for politicians.
Speaking at Musese village in Kabuchai constituency, the Bungoma senator said the current system of allocating revenue on audited accounts should be changed.
“Changing the Constitution should factor in the allocation of resources to counties based on the annual budget,’’ said Wetang’ula. He said that while the country’s budget is Sh 3 trillion, counties share only Sh970 billion.
“We are cheating counties through this division of revenue system. If we used the Sh3 trillion budget, Bungoma could get Sh25 billion and we would have meaningful development,” he said.
He said many of those clamouring for a change of the Constitution were only interested in creating positions to suit their interests.
Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi agreed with Wetang’ula that the referendum should be about improving the welfare of citizens, not catering for interests of a few individuals.
Coast region political leaders also said they would only back a referendum that seeks to improve a lot of their people.
Speaking during a Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani meeting in Mombasa at the weekend, Joho and Kingi vowed to oppose any proposed changes that fail to address the problems facing the region.
They said historical injustices and sharing of national resources between counties and the national government is what will determine their stand on the referendum.
“When the referendum comes, it should define how it will benefit the coastal people. If it does not have any benefits for our people, then the region will oppose it,” said Kingi.
Joho said the referendum debate offers an opportunity for the people of the region to demand reparation for historical injustices, particularly on the resource.
“Priorities of the coastal people are well defined. All the resources the region commands should benefit the people and that’s why we do not want to be swayed again by anyone,” said Joho.