Four ODM governors have opposed referendum calls by Cord leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula.
The four told the Star yesterday that the calls are misplaced and uncalled for, considering that Raila and other Cord leaders have not stated the question for the referendum.
“How can we support what we do not know?. We think that our party leader and his co-principals are enjoying themselves as they seek relevance. There is nothing serious in the call,” said a governor from Nyanza.
The four governors asked not to be named for fear of a political backlash. They are among those who skipped the Cord Saba Saba rally at Uhuru Park on Monday.
They join Machokos Governor Alfred Mutua who has openly criticised his coalition leaders for engaging in what he described as useless rallies.
Cord has demanded a referendum on a number of issues, which they say are critical, but questions have not been framed.
In an interview with the Nation yesterday, Raila said the issues will be narrowed to three or four by a committee to be formed.
“This was a public rally. We are seeking the views and opinions of the people in order for us to frame the questions. But it is very clear that there are deep issues we have that are not all for a referendum, and there are a few key ones that are referendum issues.
“One is the Electoral Commission (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission). The other is the issue of devolution. The third is the constitutional provisions on the Legislature. Those are the key issues that we want to take to the people,” Raila was quoted in the interview published yesterday.
But the governors termed the push for referendum a waste of time because some of the issues have no clear questions an the referendum would have to be handled by the IEBC.
“You cannot hold a referendum without Parliament because the law is very clear on the role of Parliament.
“Raila has no faith in Parliament and IEBC, so how then does he hope to get this referendum done? We will simply ignore him and continue with our work,” said the Governor from Western Kenya, known to be close to Raila
The decision by ODM governors to oppose referendum calls is a blow to Cord, which controls 24 counties and will need the support of all its governors if it were to successfully push for the referendum.
Cord is relying on article 257 of the constitution to push through the referendum. The article allows anyone to propose a referendum question by a popular vote as long as the initiative is signed by at least one million registered voters.
The initiative for an amendment to this constitution may be in the form of a general suggestion or a formulated draft Bill, which shall be delivered to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which shall verify that the initiative is supported by at least one million registered voters.
If the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is satisfied that the initiative meets the requirements of this Article, the Commission shall submit the draft Bill to each county assembly for consideration within three months after the date it was submitted by the Commission.
If a county assembly approves the draft Bill within three months after the date it was submitted by the Commission, the speaker of the county assembly shall deliver a copy of the draft Bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate that the county assembly has approved it.
If a draft Bill has been approved by a majority of the county assemblies, it shall be introduced in Parliament without delay and if passed by a majority, the Bill will be submitted to the President for assent. It is only after the President has assented to it that a referendum can be held.