Ruto scoffs at ODM threats

Friday August 13 2010

Eldoret North MP William Ruto. PHOTO/ FILE

Eldoret North MP William Ruto. PHOTO/ FILE 

By Bernard Namunane [email protected] and Caroline Wafula [email protected]

Higher Education minister William Ruto on Friday laughed off threats by ODM to punish him for campaigning against the new Constitution.

He said the party had no capacity to discipline him and that he had not applied to be considered for inclusion in any committees.

The defiant minister stated that he neither had any regrets nor apologies for deciding to go against the grain over the new laws.

Mr Ruto spoke as his allies came to his defence, warning ODM of the futility of seeking to kick him out of the Cabinet and locking him out parliamentary committees that will supervise the implementation of the new Constitution.

“They (ODM leadership) cannot discipline me, any member or anybody for taking a position on an important issue like a new Constitution,” he said over the phone.

The Eldoret North MP, who was the leader of the ‘No’ campaign, said he decided to oppose the new Constitution because of flaws in the document. He said if the referendum was to be repeated, he would still vote against it.

He spoke a day after the ODM Parliamentary Group meeting resolved to discipline members who opposed the new Constitution.

They proposed to strip Mr Ruto of his ministerial position and dethrone him from his position of second deputy party leader.

Take disciplinary action

Said Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, the PG secretary: “The party will take strong disciplinary action against any Member of Parliament who took a contrary decision on an important policy decision like the adoption of the Constitution.”

In Parliament, MPs Charles Keter, Isaac Ruto, Joshua Kutuny, Benjamin Langat and Moses Lessonet dismissed threats of party punishment and said they will stand firm against intimidation.

“We have no apologies to make whatsoever for opposing the Constitution and we will still pursue our cause because it is still not over. We did so in line with what was provided by the review Act on the Yes and No questions,” they stated.

Mr Lessonet said: “For now we will hold on and see how they (ODM) handle us. If they don’t respect us we will reciprocate.

“But if they mistreat us, then we will remind them that even the Prime Minister’s position which comes out of a party with the majority MPs in the House is vulnerable.”

Rongai MP Lucas Kigen described the meeting that called for their punishment as insensitive as the issues could easily create unnecessary tension. He said they will treat the resolution with the contempt it deserves.

Additional reporting by Jacob Ng’etich