RELIEF

Ruto and Tangatanga brigade savour sweet anti-BBI victory

The DP thanks God as allies term ruling unprecedented and historic.

In Summary
  • The DP's allies take to the rooftop to celebrate the victory.
  • The DP's falling-out with his boss Uhuru was linked to his anti-BBI campaigns.
Deputy President William Ruto in Kiambu county.
Deputy President William Ruto in Kiambu county.
Image: William Ruto Twitter

Deputy President William Ruto and his Tangatanga brigade are in a celebratory mood following Thursday night's High Court ruling that scuttled the BBI referendum push.

The team had launched aggressive attacks on the BBI. The DP, who was shoved out of the heart of government following his anti-BBI rhetoric against President Uhuru Kenyatta's wish, had been reduced to alone-ranger in the battle against law change.

However, the five-judge bench's declaration that the Building Bridges Initiative push to amend the supreme law was an illegality appears to have emboldened the DP and his anti-BBI forces.

On the night of ling knives for President Uhuru and his handshake partner Raila Odinga, the DP left no doubt about his joy following the historic High Court ruling against the BBI.

“There is God in heaven who loves Kenya immeasurably. May God's name be praised forever,” Ruto tweeted on Thursday night as Uhuru and Raila were left scratching their heads on the next move.

Instructively, the DP had transformed his official residence of the Deputy President, Karen, popularly referred by himself as the 'hustlers' mansion' into a prayer alter, seeking God's intervention.

Right from its inception, Ruto had argued that BBI was an exclusive affair by two people to bulldoze amendments to the Constitution at the expense of other Kenyans.

He had then launched his hustler empowerment programme to endear himself to ordinary citizens in an attempt to portray Uhuru and Raila as insensitive to their struggles.

The DP had also insisted that the BBI process' sole aim was to expand the Executive by introducing the position of Prime Minister and two deputies, and gag the Judiciary through an Ombudsman for the courts.

At some point, the Tangatanga brigade pushed for a multi-choice referendum when push came to shove but the request was shoved away by the BBI proponents.

The pro-handshake forces trolled Ruto's camp, daring them to either shape up or ship out of government and launched a 'No' campaign against the BBI ahead of a referendum.

However, the court ruled that a popular initiative to amend the Constitution like the BBI one cannot be presented to voters as a closed single bill but multi-choice option to give Kenyans real alternatives.

Thursday night's ruling largely answered to the affirmative many of the concerns raised by Ruto's camp and which had led to his isolation from government after falling out with Uhuru.

Former Machakos senator and United Democratic Alliance party chairman Johnson Muthama said the ruling was a major victory for Kenyans.

The key Ruto ally recalled how he had warned that the initiation of the BBI process was illegal from the word go but was dismissed with contempt.

“I said it before that the BBI Steering Committee was unconstitutional and that it was a decoy for embezzling public funds. I also stated that President Uhuru Kenyatta does not have the powers neither mandate to appoint a committee to review the Constitution,” Muthama said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, another key Ruto ally, said the High Court ruling was a major constitutional moment for Kenya that restored the rule of law.

The former Senate Majority leader, who was ousted by President Uhuru's party as being an impediment to the BBI process, hailed the five judges, saying the majority of Kenyans had been vindicated.

“When the history of Kenya is properly written, the contribution of justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Chacha Mwita and Teresia Matheka will be written in golden letters,” Murkomen tweeted.

“They are part of the few remaining Kenyan prophets who have not bowed down to Baal. God bless you.”

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said he was in a carnivore mood after the ruling.

“We never had a constitutional moment. We had hubris of two unpopular men. I am feeling some ki-happiness (sinc) that I cannot explain,” the vocal MP said as he celebrated the ruling.

In a sarcastic attack on President Uhuru, Kuria warned him against appealing against the ruling, saying chances of overturning the ruling were remote.

“To show disgust and displeasure with the High Court ruling, kasirika umalize curfew na ufungue nchi (just lift the curfew and unlock the country out of anger),” Kuria chided Uhuru in a series of tweets.

Former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale, another key stalwart in the Tangatanga movement, said the ruling was even more momentous than the 2017 Supreme Court verdict that nullified Uhuru's reelection.

“The ruling was a very good reminder (to those who feel that they are senior people in this country) that yes, you are very big people but God is also there,” Khalwale said.

He went on: “What is more surprising to me is that given the access that the President and former Prime Minister have to legal minds, why were they not advised on these issues that were articulated by judges?”

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi was more blunt, saying President Uhuru was taking Kenyans for a ride.

“We are all equal under our Constitution of Kenya 2010. You might push an agenda but surely you must accept that we are all equal,' he said.