Saturday, April 24, 2010


A new opinion poll by Synovate on the draft constitution indicates 64 per cent of Kenyans would vote Yes in the referendum, 17 per cent would vote No, while 19 per cent are still undecided.

The poll, conducted between 21stand 23rd April, gives insights on the sticky points that could potentially determine voting patterns for either the 'Yes' or 'No' sides during the referendum for the draft constitution.

In the poll, 91 per cent of respondents considered the enactment of a new constitution as "absolutely important", even though they do not totally agree with some provisions of the draft constitution. This discontent is reflected in the 68 per cent who said the draft contained "something the do not like or support."

Significantly though, is the poll's finding on the involvement of Christian leaders on the campaign against the draft constitution. 59 per cent of respondents expressed disapproval to the clergy's involvement in the 'No' campaign compared to 34 per cent who gave approval.

Further, 61 per cent of respondents supported the inclusion of the Kadhis court on the draft constitution.

Although the Constitution was passed by Parliament, the Catholic Church and some evangelical groups have vowed to fight it because of its provisions on abortion and Kadhis' Courts.

The Church objects to the section of Article 26 which empowers doctors to end a pregnancy only if it endangers the woman's life or she needs emergency treatment.

The section reads: "Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger , or if permitted by any other law."

Christian leaders are also opposed to the retention of kadhis' courts in the proposed Constitution under Article 169 and 170, which limit their authority to disputes over personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance, where all the parties are Muslims and agree to take the case to a Kadhi.

The poll, released on Saturday, gives a big impetus to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga who have already hit the campaign trail in support of the draft constitution.

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