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Vote National Interest in the Upcoming Referendum

Nairobi, Kenya

May 23, 2010

Dr Matunda Nyanchama, a former president of the Kenyan Community Abroad (KCA), has urged Kenyans to take consideration of national interests in the upcoming constitutional referendum scheduled for August 4, 2010.

Kenyans should be guided by their conscience and reach a verdict based on deep understanding of the proposed constitution and NOT what they are told  by others,  be it political or religious leaders.

Observing that a constitution is a pact between those who govern and the governed, Nyanchama called on Kenyans to understand the importance of their choice and the consequences of their actions. A YES vote, he observed, would usher in a new era and subsequent change.

A NO vote means a vote for the status quo, he said, underlining that each of the two choices would have long-term (albeit different) consequences in the country’s future. He added that a NO vote would require more time in the future on the constitution, perhaps to the peril of other important national matters.

Speaking in various places in the country, Dr Nyanchama observed that constitution-making in Kenya has been a winded process, accompanied by pain and suffering of many that championed change, adding that such sacrifice should NOT be in vain.

To make informed choices, however, Dr Nyanchama said that Kenyans must educate themselves thoroughly on the contents of the proposed constitution. This would happen through civic forums, sharing in groups, friends, family and media.

He called on the government and civil society to intensify and speed up civic education across the country, adding that true democracy requires an informed population that is continually engaged in the nation’s affairs.

Regarding contentious matters in the draft constitution, he said that no complex document such as the proposed constitution can garner 100% agreement across a nation as intricate as Kenya, with as much diverse interests. He added that over time these issues would be resolved, in line with the letter and spirit of the constitution.

He indicated that the Kenyan Diaspora is deeply engaged in the process of change in Kenya, and is participating as well as it could from all corners of the world, adding that many in the Diaspora wish to be in the country to take part in the process of change and vote accordingly.

Dr Nyanchama called on peaceful conduct of the referendum campaign, adding that peaceful and respectful debate were indicators of a mature democratic society.

The retired KCA President had a special message for the youth in particular. He asked them to really take the appropriate level of interest needed to ensure an outcome that lays the foundation for a better Kenya in the future. He cautioned against being used by different forces, saying that such bent would hurt the national interest and impact, especially the youth, who have a much bigger stake in a better future for the country.

While in the country Dr Nyanchama joined a number of civic education forums in the grassroots in order to understand the issues as seen from mwananchi.

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