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Kenya referendum: Its Green vs Red

Monday May 17 2010



Kenyans have moved another step closer to approving or rejecting the Proposed Constitution with the with the announcement of the referendum symbols.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) on Monday assigned the colours Green and Red to the Yes and No answers to the referendum question respectively.

''Do you approve the proposed new Constitution?’’ is the question that voters will answer in the August 4 vote.

The Commission held a meeting Monday morning where they went through various suggestions before settling on the colours.

The IIEC had received a number of suggestions including those of animals such as rhinos, elephants and buffaloes.

Others had suggested that stars, the moon and the sun should be used. There are also those who suggested body parts like ear versus eye and arm versus leg.

One suggestion received by the IIEC is that the 'Yes’ be given a bridge to signify they are ready to cross the river while the 'No’ get the river to show that they are not ready to cross.

“I wish to suggest a single foot slipper drawn in thick black ink on white background for (YES) and a spectacle drawn in ink of the same thickness and in black on a white back ground for (NO). Words YES, NO should appended against these symbols respectively. No colours should be used,” another suggestion reads.

There are also suggestions that a spear be given for 'Yes’ and a shield for 'No’ or the three legged traditional stool for 'Yes’ and a wooden serving spoon for 'No’.

Two Groups

Two groups have emerged with one for and another against the Proposed Constitution.

The Yes side include a political grouping led by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that launched the 'Yes’ campaign in Nairobi on Saturday. They are also supported by several civil society groupings and some religious groups.

On the other hand, the No side include a group of politicians led by Higher Education minister William Ruto and National Council of Christian Churches (NCCK) secretary Canon Peter Karanja.

The electoral body has also announced the referendum regulations which will government the conduct of the referendum. The regulations allow the different camps to form committees at the national and constituency levels.

The committees will not be registered if their logo and names resemble those of any of the 47 registered political parties or are similar to those used in the 2005 referendum.

Fresh Referendum

The rules also indicate that the application should indicate the electoral areas in which the committee intends to support or oppose the referendum question.

The regulations indicate that the proposed laws can only be passed after acquiring 50 per cent plus one of the votes cast and 25 per cent in five of the eight provinces. Where the referendum results in a tie the Commission shall proceed to hold a fresh referendum.

If the draft law passes the referendum test, President Kibaki has two weeks to promulgate the new constitution.

During this period, anyone can challenge the result in the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court.