A random survey at Machakos Airport, KENCOM/Ambassador Square, Gikomba/Toi and Kawangware markets plus other notorious hotspots in Nairobi this week reveals that the current wet weather appears not to be a threat towards getting Kenyans attend tomorrows YES rally in large numbers. Many people have vowed to attend whether it rains cats and dogs. It is possible a million man march may be seen in Uhuru Park tomorrow. That is how important young Kenyans view the reform battle.
Even the IIEC has surpassed its own target of registering 10million voters. They have so far registered 12.5million voters, and still counting as the e-voters are still getting registered in select constituencies including ODM nerve-centre in Nairobi, Langata constituency.
In my view, the bigger threat to the constitutional reform (not just the YES rally only) is the resolve by the NO camp to use whatever method they will to win this political war (read referendum). Powerful and very rich unseen forces are sponsoring the NO camp, whose political face is William Ruto, Cyrus Jirongo and most of those misguided ODM and ODM-K Mps from Rift Valley and Eastern provinces. Apart from guerrilla tactics, the NO camp is sparing no efforts and are employing under hand methods, fear-mongering, propaganda and incitement to achieve their goals.
The first shocker was when Amos Wako was accused of producing two drafts. Contrary to allegations published earlier that the NSIS were involved, this move was actually clinically conducted by the NO camp. The extensive networks established by former president Arap Moi during his 24 year tyranny still exist in the civil service, the provincial administration and security apparatus. You underestimate Arap Moi’s KANU machinery at your own peril.
William Ruto should stop fooling Kenyans on the two drafts. He knows precisely where the second draft came from. In case many of you have forgotten, Ruto was once an Assistant Minister at OP (in charge of Government Press) during which time he employed a Mr Simotwo ( current MD of his insurance firm AMACO) as Under Secretary in charge of Government Press! Ruto has used his own network in the abortive attempt at subverting the review process by printing a fake draft and thereby setting the stage for confusion that would make it easier for a court ruling to halt the review process.
Interestingly, and believe it or not, two of Ruto’s surrogates are already in court contesting the referendum question alleging that the questions released yesterday are infringing their rights to freedom of expression which is enshrined in the current constitution. As you can see at that link, depending on how the judge views the argument, a stupid lawsuit like this can actually put the brakes on the whole referendum process, and return Kenya’s protracted reform struggle back to square one!
The NSIS know who the culprit is and have given the information to the relevant authorities. You can take take to the bank. However, the fact that Ruto is currently a pawn in the explosive grand coalition politics chess game as well as that the delicate referendum is Kenya's last card for peace or for civil war, all these factors make it impossible to take the culprit out. But believe you me, Ruto is a marked man.
As a matter of fact, Ruto and Simotwo are currently running Salanic Printers in Eldoret, a firm suspected of printing leaflets in North Rift warning ‘outsiders’ to move away from the area ostensibly because North Rift is not their ancestral land. During the duos tenure at OP, they vandalised Government Press just as they did KTMT (Kenya Times). One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out where hundreds of NO paper caps, posters and other printed stuff came from during the NO crusade at Uhuru Park, which first begun as a prayer meeting before being hijacked by the political class.
As if all this is not enough, today no less a person than president Kibaki, his V-P Kalonzo and Local Government Minister Mudavadi were thoroughly embarrassed in front of media cameras by councillors who chanted NO! and PESA! at a meeting called to educate them on the need to support the Katiba. Kibaki struggled to control his anger, but the damage had already been done. NO campers must be rolling on the floor with laughter.
Apparently, Ruto and some NO side MPs had already met the councillors last night and poisoned their minds (read bribed them). They asked the councillors to demand for a payrise and also protest their long neglect by the national government. The trick worked. The councillors even rejected an impromtu payrise announced by Mudavadi of Kshs. 5,000/-. It did not occur to the YES strategist (currently operating from Muthaura’s office in Harambbe House) that upcountry councillors in the city would be vulnerable to being poisoned by political forces just as political party delegates attending NDC meetings. I wonder why the ODM cannot take charge of these arrangements!!! Is it because it is currently being seen as a presidential function? Perhaps even more importantly, both camps had received intelligence that the councillors would behave the way they did this morning. Is this the reason the sly PM kept away and let Kibaki feel the heat from grassroot leaders? He normally would not miss a prominent political stage as this and the fact remains ODM councillors were the majority at this meeting.
Time will tell, especially tomorrow when the compromised councillors are expected to be outnumbered by hundreds of youth currently making their way from all over Kenya to Nairobi to attend the inaugural YES rally. Security will be tight given the president is expected to be in attendance together with the PM and the VP and other prominent persons.
Looking at all the propaganda coming from the No side, especially the lies on the LAND and ABORTION clauses, it is clear that the NO side wants to use propaganda to get as much support to No side as possible.
The unfortunate thing is that the campaigns for the referendum have not officially started and events of this week are already raising temperatures, prompting the YES organisers to carefully vet individuals who will be allowed to address the gathering without stoking passions.
Whichever way you look at it, the NO side means business and they have the money. The YES side, which has brought back strange bedfellows PNU and ODM into one camp, have yet to get their house in order. Allowing PNU’s Muthaura to head the YES secretariat is suicide. ODM, of all people should know this. Defeating impunity and reforming this country was never going to be child’s play. 30 years and counting. Jaramogi, Anyona, JM, et al (RIP) must be turning in their graves.