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FINAL RALLIES 4 YES EN NO CAMPS IN KENYA

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Denzel Musumba

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National leaders used the big rallies in Nairobi on Sunday not only to win a few more Kenyans to their side but also to urge them to turn out to vote on Wednesday. At Uhuru Park, where a light celebratory mood pervaded the ‘Yes’ rally, President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka took advantage of the occasion to make a strong pitch for support of the proposed law, saying it would mark the birth of “the second republic”. At Dagoretti Corner playground, the ‘No’ team also used the final hours of the campaign to take on the government for allegedly denying them venues to hold their rally as they made their final submission. The team, led by Higher Education minister William Ruto and several church leaders, also accused the ‘Yes’ team of using State resources to frustrate their campaigns. Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, who lost her Starehe parliamentary seat in a petition last week, also received a boost when the MPs in the ‘No’ team pledged to support her in the by-election later in the year. At Uhuru Park, Mr Kibaki said: “The enthusiasm Kenyans have shown across the country has convinced us they will pass the proposed constitution. On August 5, Kenyans will celebrate a new constitution.” Mr Odinga, who returned to the referendum campaign on Friday, said a new constitution would mark the end of a long and painful journey. “During the journey, some people were killed, maimed and others orphaned. Let us complete the journey, raise Kenya’s flag on the mountain and ensure a rebirth of the second republic.” Mr Odinga said the new constitution would open up more opportunities for women, youth, farmers, pastoralists and other marginalised groups. Speakers said the new constitution would end impunity, tame a powerful presidency, ensure equitable distribution of resources and address past injustices.

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