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10 politicians turn heat on Ruto over BBI remarks

Proponents of BBI irked by Ruto's remarks on the initiative

In Summary
  • Ruto has taken his own path and is not with President Uhuru Kenyatta
  • He wanted to use the Punguza Mizigo Initiative to derail the BBI
Deputy President William Ruto in Bungoma on Monday, September 30, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto in Bungoma on Monday, September 30, 2019.
Image: COURTESY

Deputy President William Ruto’s assertions at the weekend that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) could be doomed has not gone down well with proponents of the drive.

A section of legislators and party leaders censured the Deputy President for comparing the BBI with the Punguza Mizigo Bill, which has encountered resistance in counties where it has been debated.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, a key figure in the Embrace Team, said Ruto has taken his own path and is not with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The Deputy President has now come out clear on the hypocrisy that he is supporting the President. He has charted his own path which the President is not part of,” she said.

Embrace Team, brings together elected women leaders who support the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga, which gave birth to the BBI.

Wanga further said Ruto played a key role in ensuring the Punguza Mizigo Bill was passed in Uasin Gishu county. “Now that it is being rejected in other areas, he has come out to attack the BBI,” she added.

ODM nominated Senator Judith Pareno said she believes Ruto was behind the Punguza Mizigo Initiative.

“He wanted to use the Punguza Mizigo Initiative to derail the BBI. Now that the plan has failed, he is attacking the BBI,” she said.

Pareno said the BBI is unstoppable because “it is a process of the people by the people and there is nothing he can do about it.”

She continued: “He is a Kenyan, yes, but there are many other Kenyans out there who are supporting the BBI, which will recommend what the people want”

Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka said leaders should stop giving the impression that the BBI process will automatically result in a referendum.

“Some people think that the BBI is there just to recommend a constitutional amendment. The BBI will just make a report and give it to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. Thereafter, there will be public conversations about the report,” he explained.

Kalonzo further stated that if there will be a need for a referendum, another team will pick up the matter adding Kenyans will be part of the discussions.

Speaking at the party offices when leaders from Nyeri county visited him, Kalonzo maintained that the constitution is not a static document.

ANC chair Kelvin Lunani however said the party would not comment on the matter since BBI has not handed over its report. “We will not talk about it because we don't know what they will recommend,” he added.

The Deputy President, speaking in Vihiga, warned that any attempts to change the Constitution without involving the people will fail. Ruto said that it is high time politicians learnt from the Ekuru Aukot's Punguza Mizigo Bill that has received resistance in many county assemblies.

Ruto said a few people cannot sit in hotels and make decisions for the entire nation.

Earlier, the Deputy President had vowed to oppose the report should it propose an expanded executive. His argument is that Kenyans should not go to a referendum to create positions for certain people.