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Serut: Referendum a waste of time and money

12 August 2014, 08:00 Arap Yego

Nairobi - Mt Elgon MP John Serut has termed the call for a national referendum by the opposition Coalition of Reforms and Democracy (CORD) as 'a complete waste of time and money' and vowed to mobilize his colleagues to rally their supporters not to participate in the process.

Speaking to journalists  in Kapsokwony in his constituency, the legislator said CORDs push for a referendum is ill-conceived and untimely, and says he has already convinced MP's from Bungoma County not to support the calls for a national plebiscite.

"Majority of Bungoma County MPs are not for the idea. We have agreed that all of us will urge our supporters and constituents not to participate in the referendum exercise by giving their signatures," said Serut, who was elected as an independent candidate but is now allied to Jubilee.

He accused CORD leadership of being insincere, noting that Raila Odinga, the coalition's leader previously vehemently supported the new constitution, which he is now seeking to change some of its sections through a referendum.

"What suddenly changed now, that Raila is spearheading the change of our constitution? We will not allow this country to be taken in another electioneering mode because of the whims of one individual," said the lawmaker.

"In my opinion the referendum will not assist citizens of this country in any way. The money that will be used in the process can be put into better use by the jubilee government by being channeled to development projects," he added.

Kimilili MP Suleiman Murunga who was elected on the Senator Moses Wetang'ula's Ford Kenya Party, and who has broken ranks with his CORD coalition colleagues over the matter, echoed Serut's sentiments.

Speaking separately to journalists, Murunga said the referendum is not in any way a solution to problems bedeviling the country.

He appealed to his coalition to seek alternative ways of engaging the government, rather than trying to blackmail it into accepting their demands with the referendum.

He said the coalition should not force all their elected leaders to support their course or threaten to punish the errant members.

"Dissent is a democratic right of everybody and those of us who do not support the referendum issue should not be punished. If you ask me I will say nobody has a ready answer for all the problems facing the country. All of us, especially the elected leaders' need to come together and seek solutions afflicting Kenyans," said Murunga at Kamukuywa market over the weekend, while handing over a cheque of KES 1.9 million that will be used to construct a police station in the area.

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