Prime minister’s position will be back, says Raila
ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday rooted for the re-introduction of a prime minister’s post under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Alluding to his time as the premier during the Grand Coalition Government under retired President Mwai Kibaki, Raila criticised politicians opposed to proposals to expand the Executive.
Speaking in Kisumu when he met ODM delegates from the county, Raila announced that Kenyans should be ready for a new system of government that would include both the president and premier.
Raila said in his native Dholuo language; Jomoko wacho ni wadwaro kombe moko e BBI. To kata ka waketo kombe moko ere rach. Donge an natiyo gi Kibaki maber. (Some people are opposing BBI saying that it is meant to create more positions. What is wrong with that anyway? Did I not work well with Kibaki when I was a prime minister?).
Raila’s announcement received immediate response from Deputy President William Ruto who maintained that the government should prioritise job creation and provision of decent housing for all Kenyans as opposed to creating leadership positions for politicians.
Ruto said since the majority of the country’s population falls under the hustling nation, it would only be fair to confront the misfortunes bedevilling them.
“Let us now agree that the priority of the government would be aligned to the needs of those without jobs, food, decent homes and struggling businesses,” he said.
The DP said these are the groups of people who should be given priority, adding that the subject of sharing power and government positions will come later.
He spoke during a prayer service at the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Ziwani, Starehe constituency, Nairobi where Reverend Joshua Kimuyu was installed as the new presiding Bishop for AIC Nairobi area. Ruto later addressed Nairobi’s Gikomba residents.
The DP and his allies are putting together strategies to rally their supporters to reject the BBI report on grounds that it was meant to create positions to benefit a few individuals.
The DP is on record saying that the ODM leader was using BBI rallies to popularise himself ahead of the 2022 presidential elections.
Yesterday however, Raila took issue with Ruto and his allies for opposing the report, which he said would unite Kenyans.
“Those who are opposing the new changes are the same people who opposed the new Constitution when they voted NO.
You just wonder whether they have the interest of Kenyans at heart. They have been going around to oppose a report that they haven’t even seen,” he said.
Raila who has left people guessing on whether he would make a fifth stab at the presidential seat called on his supporters to be ready for the battle ahead.
“Adwani uikru mbele kae. BBI dhi kelo weche mabeyo ne jopiny.” (I want all of you to get ready because BBI is coming with good things ahead),” he said.
The taskforce led by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji is expected to hand over the report to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila soon.
Both Uhuru and Raila are said to be burning the midnight oil to have a referendum before the end of the year.
The referendum is set to change the country’s political landscape as well as shape Uhuru’s 2022 succession.
Ruto and his allies have, however, dismissed the calls to have a referendum saying that it was a waste of resources.
Raila’s meeting in Kisumu came amid talk that Ruto was scheduled to visit the area to launch youth projects.
A few minutes before Raila’s meeting at the party offices, youth leaders allied to Ruto convened a press conference reiterating their position to welcome him in the region.
Led by Nyanza Youth for Ruto Movement chairman John Odenyo, the youth vowed to popularise the DP’s 2022 presidential bid.
Odenyo said: “This region has suffered for a long time and it is high time we support the DP who supported Raila’s presidency in 2007 wholeheartedly. He means well for the people of Nyanza and the time to support him is now.”
Raila accused the DP of misleading the youth by initiating projects he said did not match his status.
Watch his tongue
“You are a whole DP and what you do is launch projects of wheelbarrows and motorcycles and give handouts. You are not even ashamed of deceiving the youth,” Raila said.
Kisumu County leaders led by the local ODM chairman Ayiecho Olweny said: “Let him come but he should watch his tongue because he is fond of abusing our party leader.”
Nyakach MP Aduma Owuor and his Kisumu Central counterpart Fred Ouda also echoed Olweny’s sentiments.
“Let him come and go round but I can assure him that he has no support in this region. Even those who pretend to support him are not genuine,” said Ouda.