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Has the Okoa Kenya Referendum been overtaken by events?

16 February 2015, 15:48 William Korir

Nairobi - The CORD coalition is ready for the relaunch of the Okoa Kenya referendum as they seek to push through what they term as much needed reforms in the country; but has it been overtaken by events?

The coalition will officially launch the referendum bill Wednesday in Nairobi, but the launch comes many months after the initial clamour for a referendum kicked off in June last year.

Back then, Kenya was at a cross roads and disillusioned over many things, the security situation in the country was in a bad state and both the president Uhuru Kenyatta was still at the International Criminal Court ICC.

Now though, it is different.

The president has overcome the ICC, the country has faired well in recent times in the fight against terrorism and things are much more settled.

The opposition too has not faired well in that time.

The infighting within especially the Orange Democratic Movement ODM has only worked to strengthen the hold that president Kenyatta has and according to experts, it is unlikely the referendum will get the required goodwill at this time.

" It is a different ball game to last year. The president has now consolidated his position in the grand scheme of things by leaving the ICC and making changes to things like security. That has strengthened his position," political analyst Michael Njenga said.

" The changes to the IEBC CEO who is now an ODM person as well as other facets of CORD's complaints have been dealt with too, so it is unlikely the referendum will take much effect," he adds.

Further, what was thought to be the more popular initiative, the Pesa Mashinani referendum by Governors also seems to have slowed down, which might hamper CORD.

" The Okoa Kenya is a political process but the Pesa Mashinani was not taken as such by Kenyans. So if Pesa Mashinani is taken out of the picture, it is hard to see Okoa Kenya bearing any fruit," Njenga adds.

And with the Kajiado Central by election also close by, it remains to be seen how much leverage CORD will seek for the referendum past Wednesday.

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