THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTION REFERENDUM VOTE: ARE WE READY FOR IT’S AFTERMATH WHICH MIGHT SHAPE UP NEXT COURSE OF ACTION? By Mungai.

As the Constitution referendum campaign gain momentum where it is heating up and already it is reaching the home stretch, the ironical question begs, are we ready for the aftermath of this aftermath of this referendum vote which might shape up the next course of action in the 2012 general election? Will we be able to handle the after effects of the referendum vote which might cause some ripples and jitters in the political circles?

The battle lines are clearly drawn with the proposed constitution having already reached the homestretch, and, already the politicians have established the fronts which they will support.

There is the “Yes” camp which is supporting the proposed constitution, with the government, civil society and mainstream media coming out with barrels blazing in an unprecedented unity of purpose in supporting it. In their considered arguments they have said that the country has waited for so many years and blood have been shed while agitatating for it. They do also argue that the proposed constitution is better of than the current one, as it will enforce the systems of governance and totally reform key institutions which have been a bog letdown to the country. This team says that the contentious issues will be resolved later after the proposed constitution has been passed.

At the opposite end is the “No” camp led by the Church and some cabinet ministers who are campaigning for the total rejection of the proposed constitution. The politicians have highlighted the issue of land as one of the main beef with this proposed constitution. According to their arguments the issue of land remains a hot button which needs to be addressed accordingly as it has been the subject of clashes over the years thus it needs to be handled carefully.

The Christian churches have cited the issues of abortion and Kadhis Courts as the hairs already in the soup of the proposed constitution of which they want it to be pricked. To their arguments there is no state religion and so the constitution cannot favour, give an upper hand and uplift any religion over the others. The issue of abortion they do argue as it is framed in the proposed constitution might create loopholes for unscrupulous medical practitioners to procure abortion in the name of saving the mother.

Also, there are those who have not yet taken their stand on the proposed constitution. They haven’t made up their minds; they are sitting on the fence.

And, we cannot forget the face that politics had infiltrated the referendum process. Our murky political waters which is characterized by political shenanigans and rivalries manifests itself as different opponents throws barbs and salvos to each other. Their political differences seem as if they might not mend their fences.

The worst hits are the political parties with O.D.M taking the lion’s share of problems. It’s own share of problems boils down to the political rivalry between the party leader and one of his deputies, concerning the referendum vote they are in the opposing camps and it seems as if their differences are confounded. The P.N.U and O.D.M – K parties also do have their own bitter pills they have to grapple with.

If you analyze these cases critically we do have a cause to wary. We don’t want a repeat of what happened in 2005 referendum where our politicians planted the seed of discord, tribal animosity which resulted with negative repercussions in the name of post election violence’s where more than one thousand people lost their lives and thousands displaced from their homes.

And, this time round and are we well prepared to handle the referendum vote? Are we well attuned to the realities on the ground that the country is still volatile and bearing in mind that the I.C.C prosecutor will nail down the key suspect at the same time?

Each and every Kenyan has a democratic right to take a position on the proposed constitution. Our leaders must be cautious with their statements so that they do not spark animosity amongst Kenyans. Kenyans should not be reminded of bloodshed as the opposing camps campaign for or against the proposed constitution as we are yet to recover from the post election violence’s.

As the referendum draws near the Government must roll up its sleeves to combat hate speech and prevent the Nation from been divided. It is worth noting that the National Cohesion Commission, the Commission that was formed to bring harmony and cohesion among the different tribes is already on the ground warning key political players to avoid using hate speeches and utterances which might cause disturbances or incite.

In Conclusion a mark of society is not seen in the absence of conflict but in a heart that is ready to accommodate everyone.


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