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MT KENYA POLITICS

Shut up and don't sabotage BBI, Uhuru tells Mt Kenya

Uhuru contradicts DP Ruto says for the first time, Kibra polls were peaceful

In Summary

• Uhuru says he and Raila only discuss peace and development, says he's never seen BBI report, so everyone should be patient.

• Uhuru to visit all Mount Kenya counties starting with Meru.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
BEST OF FRIENDS: President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Image: FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday told politicians to "shut up" and stop sabotaging the Building Bridges Initiative, as he rallied his Mt Kenya backyard behind the handshake.

Addressing oliticians and opinion leaders from theregion at Sagana State lodge, a visibly furious Uhuru told politicians campaigning against the BBI to be patient.

“Those saying that BBI is about a referendum or installing a prime minister should shut up and wait for the report to come out,” Uhuru told 4,000 leaders.

Uhuru said the BBI has a bigger agenda for the country and should not be sacrificed by “selfish and narrow interests” of politicians seeking to preempt contents of the report. Though it has been ready for several weeks, it has not been officially received or made public.

In an apparent reference to DP William Ruto and his allies, who have been critical of the reports's presumed recommendations, the President asked Kenyans to wait and read the report before making informed choices.

He said he has not seen the BBI report, supposed to be a benefit from the handshake. Both the report and handshake have divided the Jubilee Party.

"I am hearing that BBI has this or the other. I am hearing there are those supporting it and those opposed. I have never seen the BBI report and so I am still waiting to see it," Uhuru said.

He added, "I have been wondering about those who read it when it is still sealed and tell us about it. I called the chairman and asked how I gave him a job while others are talking it about. He told me he doesn't understand what people are talking about."

Uhuru said he wants to see recommendations in the report to unite the country.

"I  want to see how we make all votes equal. I also want to see in the report that all corrupt individuals are not even as close at 10 steps to leadership," the President said.

just this week, Ruto and his brigade threatened to shoot down the BBI report if Opposition chief Raila Odinga does not 'renounce violence and ask for forgiveness' over violence in the Kibra by-election.

But Uhuru said for the first time in years, the Kibra polls were largely peaceful, sharply contradicting Ruto.

Seen as an attempt to forge unity among Mt Kenya politicians before he report's release, the meeting was also attended by other Gema leaders in Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Laikipia.

The President also said he respects the principle of one man one vote.

For the first time, Uhuru supported leaders’ calls that the distribution of resources to counties should be based on population.

It was not immediately clear if he meant that he backs a presidential system following opposition in his backyard against a parliamentary system. The BBI report is said to recommend a parliamentary system.

Uhuru said he would only express himself in detail when he report is out.

“The Kibra campaigns showed a big sense of maturity and attested to why we are working together with my brother Raila Odinga through the handshake,” Uhuru told the leaders.

Uhuru said his relationship with Raila was limited to the peace of the country.

"And even when I talk to this other man [Raila], I never tell him we are talking so he can get a big position. I tell him that we are talking because of peace in this country and the future of our children," he said.

The President had summoned Mt Kenya leaders to rally behind the BBI report.

This follows widening rifts between the Kieleweke and Tangatanga factions in his own backyard. There are concerns  about his grip of the region as pro-Ruto forces strengthen.

The region has also been sending mixed signals after some Mt Kenya politicians warned they would reject BBI if it recommends a parliamentary system.

The BBI team is said to have recommended sweeping changes in the country’s governance system, including the creation of a powerful prime minister with two deputies to improve inclusion.

The Star established that the President announced his planned tour of all Mt Kenya counties in two weeks to soothe disaffection. He is to meet all elected leaders separately in each county in one-on-one sessions.

It would be his first major tour of the region since his 20017 reelection.

The President told off critics who have been urging him to declare whether he still supports Ruto, telling them to focus on development instead of politics.

"Election time will come. But have you ever heard me say that I have left my party and gone to another one? Have you ever heard me say that you should elect this one and not this other one? Why do some people think that they should remind me every morning? Who has asked you?" Uhuru said.

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said the President was categorical that factional politics in Mt Kenya would hurt his legacy and urged leaders to stop petty politicking. He is a key Uhuru lieutenant.

Mathira MP Rigati Gachagua, a Ruto ally, said the President had heeded their call for serious debate about BBI.

“Why can’t we wait until the BBI report is out so that we can remove the bad things and implement the good ideas?” former Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti he said.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said, “The meeting was cordial and the right way to go in addressing many issues in this region. We want more resources.

There was drama at the Sagana State Lodge during the introduction of governors when both Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his deputy Ndindi Nyoro stood when county chiefs were asked o stand.

During the Gema meeting those who spoke talked in either Kikuyu, Embu or Meru vernacular languages, in what highlighted the significance of the meeting for the region’s leaders.

Among leaders present were Governors Mwani Wa Iria (Murang’a) Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru,) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), among others.