Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The Orange Democratic Movement on Tuesday sought to turn the tables on its Grand Coalition partner by pushing for 25 regional governments.

The party also backed the proposal to increase the number of counties from the 47 in the draft constitution to between 74 and 80.

The two suggestions will make up an amendment the party seeks to introduce. This was among the resolutions reached during an ODM Parliamentary Group meeting on Tuesday, two hours before debate on the draft began in the House.

Party secretary general Anyang Nyong’o said the amendment was drawn from the ODM manifesto, which emphasises devolution of powers to the grassroots level.

“We want to emphasise that ODM upholds its manifesto and will move an amendment to the draft to have in place three levels of government; national, regional and county,” he said.

Prof Nyong’o was optimistic that they would be able to garner the support of 145 MPs in the House to push through the amendments and allayed fears that creation of regions could lead to the displacement of some people.

The meeting was called by Prime Minister Raila Odinga after MPs failed to agree on the draft during a four-day session at the Kenya Institute of Administration (KIA) and the subsequent cancellation of a Speaker’s kamukunji to look for common ground. The PM and President Kibaki were to attend the meeting.

Sources at the meeting said they were taken through the contentious chapters by Lands minister James Orengo then Mr Odinga invited MPs to give their views on the draft.

Mr Odinga is said to have urged MPs to avoid regional caucuses, like those seen at the KIA forum, and seek to build the unity of the party.

Sources said speakers spoke on the need for ODM to retain its connection with its supporters by standing by the draft and pushing for possible amendments to retain voter rich areas such as the Rift Valley.

Others spoke of strategies to beat PNU and Agriculture minister William Ruto at their own game by pushing for the amendments they proposed at KIA. Mr Ruto was absent.

Before the KIA meeting which started last Wednesday and ended on Monday, ODM lawmakers opposed the creation of 25 regions at the expense of counties and another move to increase the number of counties.

It was understood that Mr Ruto, who is at odds with the PM, was at the centre of the proposal to create the regions.

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