• Ruto opposes the expansion of the Executive
• The proposal has been at the core of the President’s argument to cure the winner-takes-all system and enhance inclusivity in government.
Deputy President William Ruto could be headed for a clash with President Uhuru Kenyatta after he rejected key proposals in the BBI report, which his boss considers crucial to his unity agenda.
Ruto cited five proposed changes in the report he said he was uncomfortable with, including suggestions to expand the Executive.
The BBI report has proposed the creation of the office of the prime minister and two deputies, all appointed by the President.
The proposal has been at the core of the President’s argument to cure the winner-takes-all system and enhance inclusivity in government.
“This thing of winner-takes-all... we will have to look into it because we want to unite our people," Uhuru said in Kisumu last Thursday.
But the DP, whose address at the official launch of BBI report at Bomas on Monday was punctured by moments of jeers from the crowd, wondered how the proposal would answer the inclusivity question when the offices would be filled by presidential appointees.
“The President will appoint the PM and the two deputies from the winning coalition. And then we will have the runners up being the leader of the opposition. The question I am asking myself is, have we sorted out the winner-takes-all question?” he posed.
Amid ‘Respect the President’ chants from the gathering, he added, “For example, we have the president, I am the DP, [Amos] Kimunya is the PM because he is the leader of Majority, Jimmy Angwenyi (National Assembly Chief Whip) as the deputy and Maoka Maore as the other deputy, what happens to the whole Nasa brigade?” he asked.
Ruto asked the proponents of the BBI to initiate an open and honest discussion on the question of inclusivity to bring on board the millions of poor, unemployed Kenyans who have been bogged down by the ravages of Covid-19.
He identified what he termed as gaps in the report, saying they risk eroding the gains the country has made in her journey to democracy if not discussed and appropriate changes made to the document.
The proposal to have two political parties [Majority and Minority] participate in the appointment of the commissioners to the IEBC, the DP said, would compromise the doctrine of fair political competition.
“How fair will be a league where the referee is appointed by teams and not all the teams? How fair will this league be?” he asked.
The report proposes that political parties (one from the Majority party and one from the Minority party) would nominate two members to the vetting panel of IEBC commissioners.
The two nominees shall be among the five who would be appointed by the President to the vetting panel.
Others are the chairperson, who shall be qualified to be a Supreme Court judge, and two members nominated by a joint forum representing religious organisations.
Concerning the envisioned reforms in the National Police Service, Ruto opposed the ‘politicisation’ of the service, rejecting the formation of the Kenya Police Council to be chaired by the Interior Cabinet Secretary.
“The 2010 Constitution was very clear that the police must work independently of any politicians whether they are in government or in the opposition. To recommend that we will have a police council chaired by a CS is a derogation from the independence of the police. We must be careful on where we are going."
BBI proposes the creation of the council to replace the National Police Service Commission. It will responsible for policy coordination of the National Police Service and perform any other function prescribed by national legislation.
Further, Ruto opposed the proposal to have the President appoint the Judiciary Ombudsman, terming it a derogation of the independence of the Judiciary.
“We must be careful about the independence of institutions. We are coming from a history where judges received telephone calls. Where courts were held at night. We do not want to go back there,” he reckoned.
While backing the suggestion to increase the allocation of funds to the counties from the current 15 to 35 per cent, the DP said it would be ironical to release more funds to them when the Senate has been downgraded.
He said the Senate should be upgraded and given the power to allocate money through the Division of Revenue Bill. The Senate, he said, should be made an upper house and strengthened to effectively oversight the funds.
Likewise, the DP questioned why the report was proposing to have 47 women elected to the Senate, a House that has already been downgraded in the report.
“….. we are making the participation of women nominal. The participation of women should be substantive,” he said.
The DP also emphasised the need to capture agricultural sector, the backbone of the country’s economy, to empower farmers and improve their productivity.
“I dare say that this is an area that again, we must find a mechanism of having a conversation especially the farming community,” he said.
Edited by EKibii