Nasa legislators on Sunday told off Deputy President William Ruto over his ‘anti-referendum’ talk at Chatham House in the United Kingdom.
The leaders said Dr Ruto was “insincere” after he raised reservations about the referendum push.
“Do we have the resources to do the census this year, a boundary review next year, an election in 2022 and a referendum in between? Is it reasonable? Let us put these questions into context,” Dr Ruto posed during his address in London.
However, his sentiments did not go down well with Opposition leaders who branded him an “enemy of inclusivity”.
But the DP, through his press secretary David Mugonyi, said the leaders are free to say whatever they wanted. “We are in a free country,” Mr Mugonyi told the Nation.
ODM national chairman John Mbadi, secretary-general Edwin Sifuna, his Ford Kenya counterpart Eseli Simiyu, MPs Otiende Amollo (ODM, Rarieda) and Godfrey Osotsi (ANC, nominated) launched the onslaught against Dr Ruto.
“I don’t think the question of a referendum is a matter of debate now. Whoever is still raising issues on whether we should have a referendum is living in his own world. The DP is completely out of touch with reality in the country,” Mr Mbadi said.
The cost of a referendum, he said, will not derail efforts to unite the country.
“Matters of inclusivity are more important than the cost of a referendum. What the DP needs to do is join other Kenyans in fighting graft so that we have enough money for a referendum. We will have enough money by reducing wastage and pilferage of public funds,” the Suba South MP said.
Mr Sifuna accused Dr Ruto of thriving on politics of division and siege mentality.
“A united country does not quite work with his script because he exploits perceived tribal differences to fuel his campaigns. So, of course he remains at variance with the desires of the President for a united country.”
His Ford Kenya counterpart Eseli Simiyu said the DP was living in his own world.
“For him, the more divided Kenyans are, the better for him. Because the country is divided, he gets away with activities that would otherwise be questioned. A divided country makes it easier for him to become President,” Dr Simiyu said.
Dr Amollo said Dr Ruto was simply expressing his opposition to a referendum. “He is opposed to referendum, and not for cost issues,” he said.
Mr Osotsi said Dr Ruto was dishonest on most of his sentiments. “With due respect to the DP, I think he is dishonest on his true stance on many key issues including the handshake, referendum and lifestyle audit … The latest comment illustrates the DP’s inner thinking,” Mr Osotsi said.
However, Wiper vice chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said the concerns raised around the census, boundaries review and referendum are valid.
“The Building Bridges team should complete its work and issue a timetable. I believe we can manage all of them. A non-contentious referendum will be a better approach for all,” Mr Kilonzo Jr said.
To have an inclusive government, he noted, does not need a referendum. “It is the creation of new executive posts that require the voice of Kenyans. In my own view, these matters need to be discussed openly. The only concern is whether we have funding to run all these processes,” he said.