Raila challenges Ruto to be bold and openly oppose BBI document
Irene Githinji, Bernard Gitau and KNA
ODM leader Raila Odinga has hit back at Deputy President William Ruto over calls for the national referendum to be held simultaneously with the 2022 General Election.
Raila spoke as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi separately drummed up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill.
Raila, who spoke in Kitui county appeared to rule out the proposal saying it would cause confusion among Kenyans and deny them the chance to make informed decisions.
The former Prime Minister insisted that the BBI referendum will be conducted before the 2022 General Election to avoid “confusing” Kenyans.
“It is unfortunate that some individuals want the two combined but Kenyans will be overburdened with casting the main ballot and voting on multiple BBI questions as proposed by quarters opposing the document.”
Although he did not mention Ruto by name, Raila said that he should openly oppose the BBI bill instead of wasting time and taking people for a ride.
Raila spoke at Manyenyoni area in Kitui Township after launching the Sh6 billion Kitui affordable housing project, under which the county administration plans to put up 2,000 housing units in partnership with real estate developers Musyi Development and Tecnofin.
Area Governor Charity Ngilu also drummed up support for the BBI report saying the country was capable of simultaneously undertaking the constitutional change drive and the Covid-19 recovery process.
DP Ruto has on various occasions called for consensus and reason saying BBI should not be used to divide Kenyans in a Yes-No kind of situation.
“They have invited us to a contest, they are daring us to a contest, and they are threatening us with a contest but we are telling them that we are not interested in a contest but reason.”
Uhuru separately urged women to rally behind the BBI constitutional amendment bill.
Speaking during the Annual General Meeting for Maendeleo ya Wanawake which was held virtually yesterday, Uhuru said women stand to reap more noting that BBI offers them more opportunities in various levels of leadership.
The Head of State said BBI is going to address the gender inequality question once and for all, adding that there will be more women both at the Senate and the National Assembly.
“The BBI report is now a bill which crystalises the proposals into a comprehensive and deliverable framework. I want to urge you my dear sisters, mothers and all women of Kenya, to support it,” he stated.
Mudavadi on his part said it was time the country held the referendum and moved to address other pressing national issues.
Alpha and Omega
“This is a debate that should be put behind us. If the referendum is due let it come, let Kenyans make their decision and we move on,” said Mudavadi, who spoke from his office.
He insisted that leaders cannot continue to give an impression that the BBI is the ‘Alpha and Omega of Kenya’s problems and solutions’.
Mudavadi stated that there are many issues to be dealt with in the country and not all of them can be tackled in the context of the BBI.