Kenya: The Jubilee alliance has hatched a plot to scuttle the referendum bid in former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Western backyard.
The National Alliance (TNA) held a consultative forum at a Kisumu hotel at the weekend and explored ways to counter the Opposition’s referendum wave in Nyanza and Western.
The meeting chaired by TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo lasted more than five hours and explored ways to lure locals to oppose the referendum.
Those in attendance included party branch chairpersons and officials from seven counties including Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori, Vihiga, Nyamira and Siaya.
Addressing the Press after the closed-door meeting, Oloo said they had decided to take the battle against Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD)’s push to the grassroots.
Push for vote
“We are training our members on how to handle and manage CORD in its clamour for a referendum. As TNA, we are fully prepared to take the battle to their doorsteps,” he said. President Uhuru Kenyatta will be in Nyanza on Monday in what is seen as a charm offensive to counter the referendum wave.
On Thursday, the President met some MPs from the region at State House to plan for his trip in Migori to launch distribution of nets as part of an anti-malaria campaign.
It was resolved at the Kisumu meeting Jubilee leaders would work with some local MPs and Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) from the Opposition who are also against the plebiscite.
“We want to deny CORD the approval from 24 County Assemblies to render the push invalid,” he said, adding the ruling coalition will offer necessary support to members of the opposition who are not in support of the referendum.
Part of the mechanisms the coalition plans to use is to consolidate support of all local politicians who vied on the ruling Jubilee alliance ticket during last year’s elections to campaign against the vote.
Curiously, the meeting came barely a week after another one in Kisumu and asked President Kenyatta to back them to make the force formidable.
“After training our members, we are going to ensure we expose CORD as hypocrites who want a referendum for own selfish interest. This will ensure we hand them a total defeat,” Oloo explained.
Naming a number of leaders from the region who have benefited from the Jubilee government’s appointments, he allayed fears that the President had sidelined the region.
The TNA branch chairpersons from the region said they would take the anti-referendum crusade to the villages to deny CORD the required support. “We are going to stop CORD from committing political fraud on the people of Kenya because it is premature to hold a referendum now,” said Charles Ooko, Siaya branch chairperson.
By Dennis Onyango, The Standard