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Ruto remains unwavering in anti-BBI sentiment

Monday September 30 2019

Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses residents of Kapseret, Uasin Gishu County, during a fundraiser on September 29, 2019. He wants those in leadership to stop pursuing selfish gains. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DERRICK LUVEGA
By DERRICK LUVEGA
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Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday maintained his stand against plans for a referendum to amend the Constitution, saying politicians pushing for this are only interested in creating positions for selfish gains.

He warned those crusading for constitutional amendments to prepare to suffer the same fate as the Punguza Mizigo (amendment) Bill, 2019, which has so far been rejected by seven county assemblies.

The bill sponsored by Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuro Aukot is currently being debated by the 47 county assemblies and has since been rejected by MCAs in Nyamira, Siaya, Kirinyaga, Homa Bay, Muranga, Kiambu and Kisii.

Uasin Gishu County Assembly, which is Mr Ruto's backyard, is the only one that has so far approved the bill.

The DP, who made the remarks in Vihiga County at two separate fundraisers for several churches drawn from Vihiga and Sabatia sub-counties, appeared to suggest a change of heart after indications that the Tangatanga group associated with him supported the Punguza Mizigo initiative.

ULTERIOR MOTIVE

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Another drive seeking to change the Constitution is the Ugatuzi Initiative spearheaded by the Council of Governors (CoG).

Further, there is speculation that the Building Bridges Initiative that was borne out after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga might not propose a referendum to change the Constitution.

But Mr Ruto said the defeat of Punguza Mizigo Bill by various county assemblies should be a wake-up call to leaders.

He said Punguza Mizigo is collapsing because it did not put into account views from Kenyans.

“Leaders should learn from what is happening to Punguza Mizigo (in the county assemblies). It is no longer tenable to use shortcuts to change the law. Every discussion (to change the Constitution) should start with the ordinary mwananchi. We will not allow a few people sitting in hotels to change the law," added Mr Ruto.

DEVELOPMENT

This was the first time the Deputy President was publicly speaking about the Punguza Mizigo initiative that seeks to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

He also took issue with a section of leaders seeking to expand the executive by creating more positions.

The DP said such proposals are aimed at benefitting a few people at the expense of development and matters affecting the public.

Mr Odinga is on record saying the country must have the position of Prime Minister while at the same time rooting for a parliamentary system of governance.

But the DP said: "We cannot be speaking about leadership every time. This will make us look selfish because we will be avoiding pertinent matters affecting our people."

He was in Vihiga to raise funds for several churches. At the first event held at Kidundu Stadium in Vihiga Sub-County, he helped raise Sh4.6 million for eight churches and an Islam group.

Additional reporting by Stanley Kimuge and Barnabas Bii