In Summary

-Ruto has called a meeting of 150 Tangatanga MPs on Wednesday to take a common stand on BBI 

Deputy President William Ruto with President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020.
Deputy President William Ruto with President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020.
Image: FILE

 

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto intend to push for a multiple question ballot in the BBI referendum so Kenyan can vote on particular proposals.

This idea is being mulled after the backlash that greeted the DP allies move to back the BBI report after months of aggressive opposition to the initiative.

At the centre of what is putting the DP and his lieutenants at crossroads is how to navigate the proposal to increase the number of MPs. While women representatives will become senators if the BBI is passed, the initiative seeks to create an additional 70 constituencies to improve representation.

The majority of Kenyans have expressed their reservations on the proposal, saying it will burden the taxpayer with a huge wage bill.

Ruto allies want Kenyans to vote clause by clause in the 74 Articles hoping it will give them leeway to reject what they do not agree with.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali said the referendum bill “is much improved” compared to the initial report launched at Bomas.

However, the former Majority Whip in the National Assembly who spoke to the Star on phone said the issue of expanding Parliament is a matter that needs to be discussed.

“Constitution-making is a give and take. There are those proposals that we opposed and the Deputy President made our case at Bomas. They were finally deleted while other provisions like what will take care of farmers were added,” Washiali said.

He added, “There are good things in the bill which we do not want to see thrown away. We can reason together on how to solve this matter. Indeed, Kenyans are not happy with additional MPs but this is a problem that will affect both Jubilee and ODM.”

While the referendum bill cannot be amended at any stage, the Star has established that there are behind-the-scene talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the DP to have a provision in the bill to allow for multiple choices.

Ruto has summoned 150 MPs allied to his Tangatanga faction for a consultative meeting on Wednesday in Nairobi. They are expected to take a common position on how they will approach the referendum.

Some of his troops have however hit the ground mobilising their supporters to append their signatures of the referendum bill.

The Wednesday meeting will coincide which the day President Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga have set for the final collection of signatures. At least one million signatures are required to amend the Constitution through a referendum.

The DP has not come out clearly to state his position but he has been praising some of the proposals in the report through his social media platforms.

In particular, Ruto is happy with the introduction of Article 11 (a) which he said will empower “hustlers”.

He said after making his presentation at the Bomas of Kenya during the official launch of the BBI report, improvements were made.

"Now working on consensus for Kenyans to have real choices to decide and vote, vote yes or no all nothing division. We avoided lose-lose we can overcome win-lose to achieve win-win,” Ruto tweeted on Saturday.

The DP had strongly opposed the proposal that political parties nominate members to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the creation of Judiciary ombudsman appointed by the President and the creation of Police Council under the leadership of a Cabinet secretary.

But in their meeting with the President at State House days to the launch of signature collection, Ruto convinced Uhuru to have the proposals amended save for the additional 70 MP seats.

However, the President agreed to change the mode of picking the 70 MPs from the initial proposal that they will be nominated. Now, the extra lawmakers will be elected from independent constituencies.

Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, a close ally of the DP, still holds the view that the 2010 Constitution should not be amended.

He has promised to lead the no campaigns to defend the 2010 Constitution.

“Time has come to choose between country and party loyalty, the future of the nation versus personal interest, expediency and political correctness. Millions of Kenyans from every region and religion, from all political and social leanings, are desperately yearning to break the yoke and to get out of the bottomless pit of deceit, greed and breach of trust,” Kindiki said.

“What we require is full and faithful implementation of the Constitution. There are no gaps in the Constitution. Inclusivity will be achieved by full and honest implementation of laws and policies crafted from articles 10, 27, 73, 75, 232 etc of the current Constitution, not by vandalising the Constitution by introducing 640 Members of the National Assembly and the Senate and a Prime Minister,” he added.