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Kenya: Welcome to Kenya 2.0

Kenyans have decided. Kenyan citizens have overwhelmingly voted “Yes” in Kenya's referendum on a new constitution. Leaders of the “No” camp have admitted defeat.

Kenyan bloggers are celebrating this unique moment in the history of their country. This roundup looks at conversations taking place at the moment in the Kenyan blogosphere.

Rafiki Kenya observes that the approved constitution is probably one of the best in Africa and adds, “And welcome to Kenya 2.0!”:

Kenyans have today approved a new constitution in a landmark referendum vote. Thank you, fellow Kenyans! And welcome to Kenya 2.0! This new constitution – which is probably one of the best in Africa, if not the best – is redefining Kenya and is indeed a very historic moment signalling a new dawn for East Africa's most vibrant economy. The wind of change has blown through our country, and we should all be ready to contribute to the building of a great nation, creating an example for Africa, and becoming an important and respected player in the world. This time for Africa, our time for change has come.

Ken Opalo analyses voting patterns:

In all provinces but the Rift Valley and Eastern, Kenyans voted overwhelmingly in favor of the document. Rift Valley saw the stiffest opposition to the new constitution, recording a 62% NO vote. This was however expected since the regional political supremos, William Ruto and former president Moi, had vigorously campaigned against the document. In Eastern Province vice president Kalonzo Musyoka was left exposed after a strong showing by the NO side in his backyard. The vice president campaigned for the document but faced insurgent local politicians who appear to have proved that Mr. Musyoka does not have as much influence in the region as he would have us believe. Given Kenya’s highly regionalized national politics, the poor showing by Mr. Musyoka in his own backyard will have interesting implications for the Kibaki succession politics.

Of interest later today will be the breakdown of how individual MPs fared in influencing the vote in their own constituencies. Sadly, outside of Nairobi and other major urban centres most voters did not vote for the new constitution on its merits but followed the advice of their representatives, or their opponents. The most vivid example of this was in North Eastern province where quite a few number of voters turned up expecting to vote in a general election. It might be time the government issued free radio sets to families in the arid north of the country.

In his initial observations of the referendum Chris notes, “And so passing of a new constitution is not the end. Rather it is the beginning of the long road to the Promised Land.”:

The desperate people who spread lies and used every trick in the book to deny long suffering Kenyans the best thing that has ever happened to them, are still very much around and scheming. And so passing of a new constitution is not the end. Rather it is the beginning of the long road to the Promised Land. In my book Kenya has NOT given birth to a new constitution, Rather Kenya is pregnant with it. With modern technology we already know exactly what the new baby is going to look like. But what is going to follow are a lot of discomfort. Morning sickness and so on. And then finally there will be the terrible pain of giving birth. And so while celebrating Kenyans should brace themselves for what is to come before we can see and actually hold the new-born. However the really good news is that this woman called Kenya who has been barren for decades is finally pregnant and that is great news!!

Kalonzo Musyoka’s political career is in serious trouble (did he not vow to resign as Vice president if his people did not vote for the new constitution?). If you doubt what I say, ask yourself a simple question; what will Kalonzo Musyoka bring to the table as his bargaining chip? Because if he promises anybody that he is able to deliver Ukambani then chances are that he will be laughed off the room. In my view although William Ruto is in a better position, he will still have similar problems because there was a spirited YES challenge in his own turf and that is despite the best efforts of both retired President Moi and himself.

The real winners of the referendum, says Abantu, are Kenyans who fought for independence:

The winners weren't really the YES and NO proponents led by powerful forces that included sitting President Mwai Kibaki and his erstwhile Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the entire Kenyan Government machinery in the YES corner and former President Daniel arap Moi, equally powerful and vocal Minister William Ruto and the Church backing in the NO Corner! The real winner were the Kenyans who lost their lives over four decades and whose blood has redeemed our New Nation! The winners were the living Kenyans who peacefully trooped to the various polling stations in all the 210 constituencies straddles across Kenya and exercised their God given democratic right at the ballot box. The winners were the peace loving Kenyans who knelt and prayed for their Nation and held their shoulder high and refused to be coerced into violence!

I woke up this morning feeling more proud of my country Kenya and that feeling will never ever go away! We truly showed the World, as it waited for an apparent repeat of blood shed, that truly Kenya is ready to step into that place in history and deliver a constitution that even America and Britain and and first world state will be truly envious of!

Sue notes that the church in Kenya has lost its power over its members:

The church has been very vocal in opposing the proposed constitution mainly on the Kadhi courts and abortion chapters. The battle was then narrowed to state and the church. The church claimed that it commands 70% of voters are alleged to be Christians listening to the voice of the church. Then something went wrong the church faithful did not listen to the priests as it was thought it would happen. They read the constitution and make a decision; to pass the document into law.
What do we hear from all these. Is it that the church has grown in terms of reasoning that it no longer obeys ignorantly without reasoning? Are the church leaders aware of this change in the congregation that they lead? Will the people listen to the church any more after this in political decision making? Even those who voted No did that following the political calls not the church. Look at Rift valley, they overwhelmingly voted NO. Not because they are better Christians able to obey their leaders> They obeyed the political call not the church.

M.Pesa congratulates Kenyan media for the vigorous campaign in support of the new constitution:

Well done to our media for the vigorous and positive campaign of backing the proposed draft constitution. The result is a thundering YES victory from the majority of Kenyans who voted overwhelmingly YES.

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