By Dikembe Disembe
While the time of polling of Ipsos polls does not help much – coming after a ‘highlyÂ Â propagandarised’ return of President Uhuru Kenyatta from the Hague – it was relishing to observe that the pollster found an overwhelming majority of Kenyans support a referendum.
The news couldn’t have been better for us in Okoa Kenya. This is precisely because all those who support Okoa Kenya referendum initiative indeed support Pesa Mashinani.
According to the pollster, 53 per cent support Pesa Mashinani while 38 per cent support Okoa Kenya. In the polls which the pollster admitted more jubilee supporters (821) were interviewed than CORD supporters (470), what can be unanimously concluded is that kenyans support the referendum.
The Governor’s referendum, with the slogan ‘pesa mashinani’Â has received bashing from the Jubilee government with Deputy President William Ruto leading the onslaught. Ruto has not spared the Okoa Kenya initiative whom he has in various occasions claimed is being used by CORD leader Raila Odinga to ‘remain relevant’ in politics after losing the 2013 election.
In the week leading to the polls, virtually all Rift Valley governors – the core of Pesa Mashinani – had allegedly ‘abandoned’ the push, leaving only Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto and his Kericho counterpart Prof. Paul Chepkwony yet, surprisingly, an overwhelming number of people still support the referendum.
The CORD referendum which is allegedly Â supported by 38% percent of the population ( a figure too low) is expected to carry out spirited campaigns in the coming weeks even as it continue to verify the signatures already delivered to its national secretariat.
The Ipsos poll, and an internal poll by CORD’s internal media (seen by this author) projects an increase in the number of Kenyans supporting calls for referendum,regardless of whether it is CORD’s Okoa Kenya or Pesa Mashinani.
CORD leader Raila Odinga urged his supporters not to be cowed by threats, lies and propaganda by the Jubilee government, saying CORD is in the push to change the law for the long haul.
“In Kenya, you know you are into something big and something good when the establishment fights you viciously and gets personal. So when they vilify and stalk you, when they impute bad intentions on your part today and go all out to tarnish your standing,Â it is because you have hit where it matters,” said Mr Odinga.
Gov. Isaac Rutto has in many occasions said CORD supporters are Kenyans too and the two referendum teams share common concerns. The same position is shared by several CORD Leaders whose governors have signed and pushed for both referenda.
Both teams believe the new polls, which attempts to segment supporters of the two referendum initiatives, is part of a broader government ploy to divide the two teams and scuttle the initiative.
This fear stems from the fact that Gov. Rutto and CORD leader Raila Odinga, along with his former aide Mr Eliud Owalo, were recently seen at a Nairobi hotel in what observers conclude must be a coming together of the two sides.
However, Council of Governors spokesperson Barrack Muluka was quoted by a section of the press ruling out any future merger by the two groups. A close ally of Mr. Rutto has already dismissed Muluka, saying he spoke out of ignorance.
“Muluka joined us the other day and has no clue what we’ve achieved behind the scenes. He will be briefed soon,” said the source, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, CORD’s Okoa Kenya secretariat continue to receive hundreds of complete Okoa Kenya booklets. Â A source at the secretariat has told this writer a team of volunteers – mostly university students on holiday – are helping with clerical cleaning of the books to ascertain the information is correct for onward transmission to the IEBC.
The secretariat is headed by former Regional Development Permanent Secretary in the grand coalition government, Â Eng. Carey Orege.