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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Government is plotting to rig the August 4 referendum

The ‘No’ team on the Proposed Constitution claimed the Government is plotting to rig the August 4 referendum vote.

The leaders, who included four MPs and National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary General Canon Peter Karanja, alleged the Government is used to rigging of elections and warned it would not succeed.

Speaking at Kericho Green Stadium during prayers for the review, Karanja, who was the main speaker, said the ‘No’ team would deploy agents and observers in polling stations countrywide to monitor the referendum.

"Church leaders and those against the draft will monitor the referendum to avoid rigging. Even if they win, we would continue fighting for the rights of Kenyans," Karanja said.

Karanja claimed the mood of the country on the Proposed Constitution was against the Church.

He said Christians would not risk supporting a document that would cause problems.

Karanja said politicians who refer to them, as ‘anti-reform’ would not intimidate the Church.

The ‘No’ campaign was attended by MPs Charles Keter (Belgut), Benjamin Langat (Ainamoi), Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) and Elijah Lagat (Emgwen) and former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere.

Others included Africa Gospel Church Assistant Bishop Paul Leleito, who was the organiser of the meeting, Bishop Jackson Kosgey of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya, Kericho mayor John Kauria and his Bomet counterpart Leonard Barsumei.

Karanja acclaimed former Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua denied the Church an opportunity to have their views incorporated in the draft.

Koigi said Kenyans who were allocated land by founding president Jomo Kenyatta, his successor Daniel Moi, and President Kibaki should retain their land.

He said land issues are emotive and warned those pushing for the adoption of the draft at the referendum should be cautious.

"Land allocated by Kenyatta and his successor (Moi) and President Kibaki should not be interfered with, as this will amount to inviting trouble into the country," said Koigi.

Meanwhile, Church leaders took their ‘No’ campaign to Kakamega where they declared politicians would not be allowed at the pulpit during services.

Speaking during a sparsely attended rally at Muliro Gardens, church leaders said politicians spite them when they are given a chance to speak to the congregation.

False prophets

"We will not give you (politicians) a podium to insult us," said Jerry Kibarabara, the chairman of the Kenya Church Leaders Forum.

He said politicians call them names like false prophets and hypocrites, whenever they are given a chance to speak.

Kibarabara further said politicians campaigning for the Proposed Constitution should forget their votes in 2012 General Election.

He accused politicians of using the referendum to campaign for 2012.

"Without the Church, you cannot get enough votes to become president," he added.

Those who attended the rally included Bob Kabugi, chairman of Kenya Christian Constitution Forum, Oliver Kisaka, deputy secretary general, National Council of Churches of Kenya, lawyer Joty Midivo, and Bishop Mark Kariuki (Deliverance).

Flawed document

Others were Bishop J Likavo from Eldoret, Ruben Kigame (Fish FM), William Kubundo, (chairman Kakamega Pastors Association), and Bishop Nicholas Olumasai (Kenya Christian Constitution Forum, Western).

Kariuki said Kenyans should not vote for the Proposed Constitution because some politicians have admitted the document is flawed.

"We cannot take poison knowingly and then look for help later," he added.

Later in a statement, ‘Lord, Save Kenya from Unjust Laws,’ which was read to the crowd, Church leaders said locals switch to ‘No’ from ‘Yes’ immediately they are educated on contentious issues.

They accused the Committee of Experts (CoE) of being hostile to the Church.

"By joining the ‘Yes’ team, the CoE is carrying out civic exclusion and not civic education," read the statement.

The Church leaders urged Kenyans to get copies of the document and read it for themselves.

"We invite them to participate in civic education organised by churches and other people who are objective," they added.

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