Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Kenyans should ignore those who want to scuttle the referendum

By Joseph Lister Nyaringo New Jersey, USA

I’m dismayed by a group of Kenyans coming with court injunctions at the eleventh hour when we are only one month to the referendum.

The latest from Dr. Barrack Abonyo, a Kenyan in the Diaspora who filed the application in Court through civil society activists with questionable credibility, is a shocker. The Interim Independent Electoral Commission is yet to come to terms with the Wednesday ruling by the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court that allowed prisoners to vote in the referendum.

We have two groups in Kenya’s civil society: those who genuinely want positive change and those who love to see disorder in the Country because this is the only way they will convince donors to fund their programs.

I will single out Mr. Okiya Omtata of KEJUDE whose ambiguity in the proposed constitution has been noted by many Kenyans. I don’t want to sound harsh but many idlers purporting to champion for the rights of Kenyans for cheap publicity are fighting tooth and nail for the postponement of the referendum.

We need to be privy with these groups who se primary motive is to see the Country swim in chaos so that they will remain relevant because they know that comprehensive reforms in the Country will make it elusive for them to attract funding from donors.
Where were they only to emerge at the eleventh hour? They didn’t raise this matter earlier enough for logistics to be put in place to allow Kenyans to vote from abroad. It’s unrealistic to fix modalities in a span of one month to allow Kenyans to vote from abroad when they are scattered a cross the globe even in smaller countries like Monaco and The Vatican.
Indeed, it’s our inalienable right to vote in any election from the Diaspora but logistically, it’s impossible in the coming referendum. Besides, most of our Missions abroad do not have a comprehensive central database of Kenyan citizens and this alone complicates the matter.
I challenge Dr. Abonyo to travel to Kenya and exercise his democratic right in the August referendum instead of using proxies -Okiya Omtata to file a case on behalf of a constituency he does not control or represent if he believes that what he stands for is popular with Kenyans in the Diaspora. Since he never consulted widely before he decided to proceed to court, I view the case as personal since it doesn’t represent the interests of the Kenyan majority in the Diaspora.

Like Dr. Abonyo, I live overseas and I don't want to see a delay for Kenyans to have a new constitution just because some one is advocating for me to vote in the August referendum. I may not cast my vote in the referendum from abroad but I have family members, friends and relatives whom I could advise how to vote based on what I have read in the proposed law and how important it is for them to vote for or against the proposed constitution in order to shape for destiny of our motherland.

Therefore, I urge the IIEC not to be derailed by last minute strugglers who don’t want Kenyans to have a new constitution as they had humble time to file court injunctions but could not do it only to come at the eleventh hour.
While the ruling by the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court that allowed prisoners and remandees to register and vote in the August referendum is laudable, we need to question those behind the injunction on why they waited for the referendum campaign when they had a chance to do the same while the voter registration exercise commenced.

To be honest, this is a scheme to either delay the country from getting a new constitution or having the exercise discarded altogether. Even the registration of prisoners and remandees is not going to be easy.
Post a Comment