Inside Ruto allies’ effort to mount opposition to BBI report
Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto, are quietly laying the ground to oppose the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report during the planned referendum, People Daily has established.
The politicians, including current and former Members of Parliament and senators, are said to be setting up a secretariat from where the “No” campaign, will be run in the event of a referendum to approve or reject the proposals in the BBI report launched at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday.
Buoyed by Ruto’s spirited efforts to poke holes in the BBI report during the Monday event, his allies are said to have resolved to go the whole hog and oppose the report in the event of a referendum, with former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama said to have donated one of his properties in the upmarket Runda neighbourhood in Nairobi to host the “No” secretariat.
The team is said to have met on Monday evening at Ruto’s residence, where it was agreed that they should fight the document unless President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga address concerns raised by the DP at Bomas.
And the battle lines appear to have been drawn after Uhuru and Raila invited their allies for a retreat in Naivasha on Sunday, to discuss the roadmap for implementation of the BBI document.
Lawmakers allied to Ruto have been left out of the retreat, to be held at the Great Rift Valley Lodge.
Yesterday, Muthama and Soy MP Caleb Kositany insisted that their five-point demands as outlined by Ruto during the Bomas launch still stand.
“We have not made up our minds on the kind of road to take, but our stand remains simple; that the process must be all-inclusive, among others.
We shall not be forced to support a document that is meant to benefit a few individuals,” Muthama told People Daily.
Kositany said the DP had clearly laid down the reasons behind his opposition to the BBI report which they would like addressed.
“We fully stand with the sentiments by the DP during the launch of the document, and nothing is going to make us change our minds.
For the country to avoid confrontation that now appears imminent, let them halt the process, and begin afresh after involving everyone,” Kositany said.
He disclosed that their team would only drop their hardline stance against BBI if their views are incorporated in the report before it is subjected to a referendum.
“What bridges are they building when they are convening a meeting over the report in Naivasha in isolation?
What is making them to isolate some of us from the Constitution amendment process?” Kositany asked.
Apart from demanding for an all-inclusive process, the DP’s allies are also pushing for a meeting of the Jubilee Parliamentary Group to take a position on the report as well as anchoring the position of the Deputy President in the Constitution.
Addressing delegates who attended the BBI report launch at Bomas, Ruto cited several concerns in the document that he said he was opposed to and the reasons behind his opposition.
He also questioned the rationale behind the proposal to have political parties to be involved in the appointment of IEBC commissioners, the independence of the national Police Service and operationalisation of the hybrid governance system as outlined in the BBI.
Ruto expressed his reservations on the proposal to abolish the National Police Service Commission and replace it with the Kenya Police Council to be chaired by the Interior Cabinet Minister.
“The 2010 Constitution was very clear that police must act independently of any politician.
To recommend that we will have a police council chaired by a Cabinet Secretary is a derogation of the independence of the police,” he cautioned.
“Explain to me how having a president who will appoint the prime minister from the winning coalition and runners-up being opposition leader will sort out the ‘winner-take-it-all’ question. Forgive me if I’m slow,” the DP said.