Referendum push divides Jubilee MPs

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Calls for a referendum to reduce the number of elected representatives in the country has divided Jubilee Party, with MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta backing the plebiscite push that is opposed by his deputy William Ruto.

While Mr Ruto has insisted that a referendum was not a priority for the ruling party, more and more MPs are coming out to back the calls for the reopening of the Constitution the deputy president had opposed in 2010.

Yesterday, nominated MP Maina Kamanda joined a growing list of MPs who want the referendum to go on, saying the cost of running the 2010 Constitution was too much, and should be addressed.

SUPPORTERS

In Ol-Joro Orok, Nyandarua County, MPs who threw their weight behind the calls for referendum and law changes were Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Michael Muchira (Ol-Joro Orok), Subukia’s Kinuthia Gachobe, Kimani Kuria of Molo, Faith Gitau (Nyandarua Women Rep), Patrick Mariru of Laikipia West, Mr Patrick Munene (Chuka-Igamba-Ng’ombe) and Mathioya’s Peter Kimari.

“Some of these positions in the county governments should be reduced as they amount to duplication of roles and have continued to burden Wanjiku,” Ms Gitau said during a funds drive at Huho-Ini Catholic Church attended by the MPs.

While he supported calls to reduce the number of elected representatives, Mr Kuria told off opposition leader Raila Odinga against pushing for the creation of the PM’s position and introduction of a parliamentary system of governance.

“We know that there are some leaders who want to take advantage of the constitution amendments and push for the creation of some non-existing positions. They should forget this because it will not be possible,” the Gatundu South MP said.

DEMAND

In Nairobi, Mr Kamanda told off National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale over his comments against a proposed referendum to relook at the 2010 Constitution.

Mr Kamanda said that Mr Duale’s comments were misplaced as Kenyans “want this referendum like tomorrow”.

“Let Duale not attempt to say that this referendum is about Raila Odinga. It is not. This thing is supported by people everywhere, even in Jubilee. We have seen the burden of this Constitution,” Mr Kamanda told the Nation in Nairobi.

Mr Duale has in the past three days opposed the proposal to have a referendum to alter Kenya’s political landscape.

“Jubilee Party will not be involved in the debate about reducing the number of electoral seats until it gets direction from President Uhuru Kenyatta. Our prime focus is on the Big Four Agenda,” Mr Duale said on Twitter on Sunday.