Friday, August 6, 2010

NO TEAM CONCEDE DEFEAT

The de-facto leader of the 'No' camp and Higher Education minister William Ruto has led a team of politicians in conceding defeat in Kenya's constitution referendum held on Wednesday.
Mr Ruto congratulated Kenyans for conducting themselves peacefully during the referendum.

The minister said: "Kenyans have spoken and we respect the decision. All Kenyans are winners."

However, the 'No' group called for immediate consultations between the two sides with the aim of amending the contentious issues.

Mr Ruto was accompanied by cabinet ministers Naomi Shabaan and Samuel Poghisio and several Members of Parliament allied to the Red camp.

He said the international threshold for endorsing a new constitution had not been met, showing that more Kenyans needed to be brought on board.

"We want to be part of the process of moving Kenya into the future," he said as to emphasize his call for more consultations and national unity. Mr Ruto commended Kenyans for displaying maturity in making their decision despite what he called foreign interference and abuse of state resources during the campaigns.

Kenya Christian Church leaders also emphasized the need for further consultations on the contentious issues in the new constitution that had made them to oppose its passage.

In a separate press briefing at the same venue, where the 'No' politicians earlier conceded defeat, the Church leaders claimed that the pre-referendum process "was marred by malpractices and irregularities which continued right into the balloting and tallying phases."

"Our attention is especially drawn to the fact that only about 30 per cent of the registered voters endorsed the proposed constitution," National Council of Churches of Kenya secretary-general Canon Peter Karanja said.

The Church leaders did not categorically concede defeat, instead declaring that the Church had played a prophetic role in warning the nation of the dangers posed by the contentious issues.

The Church leaders claimed that some of their agents had been barred from the tallying process.

However, they called upon Kenyans to remain peaceful and united in addressing the contentious issues. "We especially appreciate the more than two million Kenyans who courageously stood to demand that the anomaly in the proposed constitution be addressed before the same is passed," Canon Karanja said from the prepared statement.

The mainstream Catholic Church was not represented at the press briefing.

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