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Group wary politicians upstaging wananchi in referendum push

Tuesday March 19 2019

Wananchi salute to the National Anthem at the 'Yes' campaign rally at Uhuru Park on August 1, 2010. Photo: SULEIMAN MBATIAH

Wananchi salute to the National Anthem at a 'Yes' campaign rally at Uhuru Park on August 1, 2010. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CECIL ODONGO
By CECIL ODONGO
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A civil society organisation has called for vigorous participation of wananchi in the ongoing referendum debate, warning that politicians have taken charge of the reform agenda.

National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) Chairperson Morris Odhiambo on Monday said the reform process is a critical issue concerning the plight of all Kenyans.

“We are not ready to repeat the same trend where citizens did not take a keen interest in the new constitution by saying politicians had read it on their behalf,” said Mr Odhiambo.

“Any referendum should be people-based contrary to the current situation where politicians have taken sides and are fighting for their interests. So far, it is true Kenyans have not featured anywhere on the debate on constitutional process.”

NCSC said the constitutional reforms should centre on contentious issues and gaps raised by various stakeholders since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.

“While campaigning for the 2010 Constitution the opposing camp said that 10 percent rectification,” said Mr Odhiambo.

The group said the debate should focus on free and fair elections, fighting corruption, improving transparency in government, respect for human rights, democracy, equality in service delivery at all levels of government and public participation.

NCSC also revealed that they will bank on the experience from previous campaigns such as Yes-Yes Katiba (2007-2008), Katiba Sasa(2008-2009) and Katiba Initiative(2010-2016) to push through the change law agenda.