Ruto dismisses Uhuru-Raila BBI, calls for focus on Big 4 agenda

In Summary

• Raila's ODM last month dismissed Punguza Mizigo and urged Kenyans to wait for the outcome of BBI.

Deputy President William Ruto at the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) St Luke's Cheptiret, Kesses, Uasin Gishu County on August 10, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto at the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) St Luke's Cheptiret, Kesses, Uasin Gishu County on August 10, 2019.
Image: DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto has indirectly hit out at ODM leader Raila Odinga and one of his most loyal allies, National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale for debating BBI and Punguza Mizigo respectively.

In a tweet on Sunday, the DP also criticised those debating over Punguza Mizigo and the 2022 presidential race.

He said, "The Jubilee administration will not be distracted from delivering on our manifesto and HE's (His Excellency's) Big 4 plan by those engaged in the raging debate on Punguza Mizigo, BBI or 2022," he said.


"They should be objective, truthful and conduct an honest conversation that is in the best interest of all."

The Building Bridges Initiative was born after the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.

Raila's ODM last month dismissed Punguza Mizigo and urged Kenyans to wait for the outcome of BBI.

Meanwhile, Duale has openly endorsed a public vote to alter the country’s system of government.

The Garissa Township MP on Friday maintained he will support a referendum to introduce a parliamentary system of government to end what he described as “post-presidential election chaos”

ODM criticised Punguza Mizigo, saying that from the onset, it had noted a "complete departure by the IEBC from the precedent it set in signature verification for a similar process in 2017 with the Okoa Kenya Bill presented by the CORD Coalition".

"It seems the IEBC will apply different standards for the same exercise depending on who is presenting the signatures," ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna said.


"It is also critical to point out that constitution-making or amendment must always be people-driven and result from the widest possible consultations with Kenyans of all walks of life which third way did not bother to attempt."

On Saturday, a section of Jubilee leaders said they will support constitutional amendments aimed at improving lives of Kenyans but not to burden them.

The leaders said Kenyans were not ready for a referendum to change the Constitution to create more positions for few individuals, saying such a move would further burden them.

The politicians also criticized the Building Bridges Initiative saying it was selective in collecting views.

They said any Constitutional amendment must be people-driven if it has to be successfully executed.

They were Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin-Gishu), his Baringo counterpart Stanley Kiptis, Uasin Gishu deputy governor Daniel Chemno and former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Mohammed.

Others were MPs Swarup Mishra (Kesses), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Gladys Shollei (Women Rep, Uasin-Gishu), William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Margaret Kamar (Senator Uasin-Gishu), Caleb Kositany (Soy) and Florence Jematia (EALA).

Speaking at Cheptiret grounds during an interdenominational prayer service in Uasin-Gishu County, on Sunday, the leaders cautioned that any attempts to amend the Constitution to create more positions for few politicians would be met with stiff resistance by Kenyans who are already overburdened.

Deputy President William Ruto also attended the function.

“Those undertaking Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) are taking Kenyans for a ride. The 2010 Constitution was the most consultative. If they want to relook at the law, they should go back to the archives and listen to the views instead of wasting time trying to get comments from a few Kenyans,” said Shollei.

Kamar said changes to the constitution must always be people-driven and should not be the work of some few individuals pursuing their selfish gains.

“If we want to change the Constitution, we must reduce the burden on Kenyans,” said Kamar.

Governor Mandago said change of Constitution should take care of the interests of the people at the grassroots, adding that plans were underway by county governments to come up with Ugatuzi (devolution) initiative that calls for change of the law to increase funds to counties.

“Our next move is to come up with Ugatuzi initiative that will see more resources increased to the counties. We are not concerned about BBI or the Punguza Mizigo initiatives,” said Mandago.

He said the BBI initiative had not collected views from all the regions.

Washiali said the Punguza Mizigo Initiative was better, but needed changes especially on the presidential term limit.

He said the Akuru Aukot led constitution proposal would, however; subject Kenyans to several unnecessary elections, thus not cost-effective.

“According to the Punguza Mizigo Initiative, when the term of the president comes to an end, Kenyans would be subjected to another round of elections for only one person when the rest of the leaders have settled down,” said Washiali.

Kositany and Cheptumo said Kenyans will only support constitutional amendments that can benefit them.

"The 2010 Constitution was supported by about 60 per cent of Kenyans. If it has to be changed, it must be for the benefit of all the people and not a few," said Cheptumo.

Kositany said all Kenyans must be given the opportunity to give their views on matters pertaining to change of the Constitution.

The Deputy President said Jubilee was keen on initiatives aimed at transforming the lives of Kenyans, saying sideshows would not derail its development agenda for Kenyans.

“Our focus as Government is to initiate projects that have an impact on the lives of Kenyans. It’s unity and teamwork among leaders that the people want not divisions based on religion, parties or ethnic backgrounds,” said Ruto.

He told leaders to put aside their political differences and take a common stand on matters of development.

“Let’s ignore political groupings based on party affiliations. What’s important for us as leaders is to work together for the benefit of our people in terms of development projects,” said Ruto.

Mandago, at the same time, asked the Government to deal with matters of corruption fairly and in accordance with the law without targeting leaders perceived to be supporting certain individuals in the country.

Mandago also dismissed the recent ruling by Judge Mumbi Ngugi that governors accused of corruption and abuse of office must step aside, saying it was unconstitutional.

“What happens when one is later found innocent? Courts ruling should be in tandem with the Constitution,” said Mandago.

Rashid criticized those undermining the leadership of the Deputy President, saying Kenyans were ready to elect a development conscious leader like him to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta when his term comes to an end in 2022.

“My brother William Ruto was a very good man when he supported Raila Odinga in 2007 and President Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017 elections. But now that he is eyeing the presidency in 2022, he is now branded a bad man by individuals he helped to power,” said Rashid.

Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui who was also present said the Government was addressing water challenges facing Kenyans across the country.