•Say Kenyatta and Raila should stop taking Kenyans in circles and say what they want to achieve
•But BBI backers accuse the DP of disrespecting the President, mull changing law to allow Uhuru to sack Ruto
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga should stop taking Kenyans in circles and say what they want to achieve with the Building Bridges Initiative.
That was the swift reaction of DP William Ruto’s allies moments after the head of public service Joseph Kinyua gazetted the 14-member BBI steering committee to oversee the second phase of the initiative.
The gazette notice opens the BBI report for amendments, a move Ruto's allies had vowed to reject.
“The committee shall propose administrative, policy, statutory or constitutional changes that may be necessary for the implementation of the recommendations contained in the task force report taking into account any relevant contributions made during the validation period,” the notice reads.
Ruto's troops, however, claimed Uhuru and Raila have an ace up their sleeves and are wasting public money by taking the report to the people.
“What are they looking for that they did not include in the [current] report? That is why they are evoking tribal, emotional and political support they can use to craft their things,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei told the Star
Kinyua gazetted the team last Friday but the publication was made public yesterday to spearhead the validation of the initial report of the BBI task force that was produced by the same team after months of public engagements.
The members are Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, Bishop Lawi Imathiu, Maison Leshomo, James Matundura, Rose Museu, Agnes Kavindu and Saeed Mwaguni.
Others are Bishop Peter Njenga, Archbishop Zaccheaus Okoth, Adams Oloo, Senator Amos Wako, Florence Omose, Morompi Ronkei and John Seii.
The joint secretaries are Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi. The committee will submit its report to Raila and Uhuru by June 30.
Kenyatta gave the joint secretariat the leeway to recruit experts or any other person they may require to assist in the achievement of the terms of reference of the committee.
But the DP’s lieutenants tore into Kenyatta and his newfound relationship with and criticised both for using the initiative to advance personal interests.
“Why can’t Raila and Uhuru tell us what they really want instead of wasting Kenyans’ time? Do they want an executive Prime Minister? They should tell us,” Cherargei, a close Ruto ally, charged.
He added, “It is about the interest of ODM and their protégées. Last time they wanted a three tier government and an executive prime minister.”
Nominated David Ole Sankok wondered why the BBI report should be taken back to Kenyans yet it was from them that it came.
“I also want my President to explain to me: was it from Tanzania so that we are giving Kenyans? Or is it from political leaders so that we are taking it to the citizens? But if it is a report of citizens of Kenya and Sh10 billion has already been used, then it is a waste of public funds,” he said.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany said the BBI has become a circus and asked the President and Raila to tell Kenyans what they want so that the country can forge ahead.
But as they expressed their outrage, 11 MPs supporting the BBI and the handshake held a press conference at Parliament Buildings where they assailed the DP for disrespecting the President.
The leaders said they were mulling changing the Constitution to give the President powers to fire his deputy.
The lawmakers noted the current law which ties the President’s hand when it comes to dealing with his deputy was responsible for open insubordination by the DP.
The 11 MPs noted that Ruto’s anti-BBI remarks on Sunday - when he also hit at Raila – were just mere scapegoats and that Kenyatta remains the target of his vitriol.
Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, who read a joint statement, said it was time the country considered reverting to periods when the President had the power to appoint and dismiss his deputy.
“Ruto should have the courage to face the President instead of hiding behind ODM. His attitude towards the President as DP makes us believe Kenyans should consider amending the Constitution to make the DP an appointee of the President as was the case before,” Junet said.
On Sunday, DP Ruto dismissed the BBI regional consultative meetings as a waste of public money, adding that Raila had hijacked the summits to craft a 2022 line-up.
The leaders told the DP to stop undermining the President by his actions and dared him to resign if he no longer had confidence in how President Uhuru was running the government.
Nominated MP Kamanda said Ruto was behaving as both the President and Deputy President, adding that the President is the target in the incessant utterances against Raila
“We are asking the Deputy President that you are the principal assistant to the President. Please give the President the respect that he deserves,” Kamanda said.
But in a tweet, Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen hit out at Kamanda, telling him off that the DP was not Uhuru’s employee.
“The Deputy President is not an employee of the President. They willingly came together, jointly employed by the people of Kenya. The respect you are demanding for the President is the same respect the President is demanding for his Deputy,” he said.