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Campaigning for Kenya's Constitutional Referendum Wraps Up

Rallies for and against Kenya's draft constitution were held in the capital Saturday, on the last day of campaigning before Monday's referendum on the document. This is the first time since Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963 that the constitution has been redrafted.

Orange scarves, T-shirts, hats and balloons blazed a colorful trail across Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium, as people came out to show their dissatisfaction with Kenya's draft constitution.

During the weeks of intense debate over the pros and cons of the draft document, the orange has come to symbolize the 'no' campaign.

At Saturday's orange rally, speakers pointed out what they see as major flaws with the draft constitution, primarily that it does not address concerns that too much power is concentrated in the office of the president, and not enough in the newly-proposed prime minister's post.

"The election of the prime minister will be done by the president," explained Calvins Omondi, an orange supporter. "At the initial stages, why they wanted the constitution to be made was because to reduce the powers of the president, which they have not reduced."

Meanwhile, in nearby Uhuru Park, another crowd gathered to show their support for the draft constitution. The 'yes' campaign has taken the banana as its symbol.

Wearing T-shirts with a drawing of a banana, carrying bananas, and chanting, 'yes, yes, yes,' supporters said that the constitution would ensure the economic and social development of Kenya.

Devika Patel, representing the Asian community, explains.

"Women will now have equal opportunities like men, and have the right to inherit properties," said Devika Patel. "Asians will now have representation, and special seats will be there to cater for their interests, both in parliament and at district levels."

Kenyans vote Monday on whether to accept or reject the draft constitution.

This is the first time Kenyans are voting in a referendum on the constitution. The current constitution dates back to Kenya's independence from British colonial rule 42 years ago.

The draft to be voted on is a modified version of an earlier document that representatives from all across the country put together after a two-year process. Dubbed the Bomas draft, parliament proceeded to amend the document to its present form.

Opponents, led by opposition leader Uhuru Kenyatta, argue that the draft to be voted on is a major departure from the Bomas draft. Proponents, headed by President Mwai Kibaki, say this draft is a true reflection of what Kenyans want.