POLITICAL RIVALRY

Raila, Ruto foot soldiers argue in Mombasa

Raila wants the BBI report be subjected to a referendum for it to be passed while Ruto wants it to go through Parliament.

In Summary

• Nyali MP Mohammed Ali, an ally of the DP, said it's wrong to hold an expensive referendum yet document can be passed in less than 10 minutes by Parliament.

• Nassir said those arguing a plebiscite is an unnecessary cost should first stop stealing the billions of shillings that Kenyans work hard to generate.

Nyali MP Mohammed Ali (with ball) at Frere Town Grounds on Saturday.
SKILLFULL: Nyali MP Mohammed Ali (with ball) at Frere Town Grounds on Saturday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO
Nyali MP Mohammed Ali at Frere Town Grounds on Saturday.
HANDSHAKE: Nyali MP Mohammed Ali at Frere Town Grounds on Saturday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

BY BRIAN OTIENO @Yobramos4                                

The rivalry between Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga played out in Mombasa as their foot soldiers quarrelled on Saturday over the Building Bridges Initiative.

Raila wants the BBI report to be put to the people in a referendum while Ruto wants it to go through Parliament.

Nyali MP Mohammed Ali, a staunch ally of the DP, said it is wrong to subject Kenyans to an expensive referendum, yet the recommendations can be passed in Parliament in less than 10 minutes at no cost.

“We were making noise because we felt the BBI would overburden Wanjiku. Now we have read it and it is okay. We don’t need to go for a referendum. Let’s go to Parliament and pass it. No one is opposing the BBI,” Ali said.

He spoke at Frere Town Ground where he launched the Nyali One Football Tournament.

Speaking separately at the Mikindani Social Hall, Jomvu MP Badi Twalib urged Kenyans to read and understand the report before making informed choices.

He said the economic situation in the country needs serious consideration and cautioned politicians against dictating to Kenyans.

“Do not allow leaders to come to you saying they have read the document for you and that it is either good or bad. Read it yourselves. Do not trust everything these politicians tell you,” Twalib said.

However, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and Mombasa woman Representative Asha Hussein said taking the BBI report to Parliament for MPs to pass is going against the BBI itself, which preaches inclusivity.

They said the BBI initiative began with the people and it is they who should decide, not MPs.

Speaking during a fundraiser to buy a bus for women's groups in Tudor, the two said the youth are the most affected by the BBI and should be on the frontline in reading and understanding the document before making informed decisions.

“I have faith in a Prime Minister who will have powers. We do not want this to come to Parliament for debate. We want it to go to the people where it started,” said Ashu, as she is popularly known.

“Some MPs will be bought cheaply and spoil the party for Kenyans. We do not want it to be brought to Parliament,”Ashu said.

Nassir said the country needs a referendum on the BBI so that all Kenyans feel part of history.

At Frere Town, Ali said the proponents of the BBI are applying double standards because they have sensed their interests will not be achieved.

“So they want to go for a referendum where they can easily influence the electorate,” Ali said.

“Why would they spend Sh10 billion on BBI then spend another Sh30 billion on a referendum yet Parliament can just say yes in five minutes without spending a single cent just, as you want the people to say yes to it?” asked Ali.

Nassir said those saying a plebiscite is an unnecessary cost should first stop stealing the billions of shillings that Kenyans work hard to generate.

“The money they steal through corruption is a thousand times more than the money that will be used in the referendum,” Nassir said.

(Edited by V. Graham)