Ruto accuses Raila of using Constitution debate to divide Kenyans
Winstone Chiseremi and Seth Onyango
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday accused Opposition leader Raila Odinga of using his push for a referendum on the Constitution to divide the country.
He claimed Raila was on a mission to replicate the political conditions of the 2005 referendum where the country was sharply divided between the Banana and Orange camps.
While the Banana side backed the proposed constitution, the Orange camp was against it. The Orange side, whose leaders included Raila and Ruto, won the day against the then President Kibaki-led Banana side.
“Kenyans should be wary of leaders who want to exploit the debate on the Constitution to create camps pitting those who are opposed to the reforms and those supporting the review process,” he said
Ruto made the remarks two days after Raila warned politicians in the Tanga Tanga faction, which supports the DP, that they would be crushed by the proposed referendum.
“I have looked at the sky and seen clouds. The rains will soon start pounding. There are strong winds moving from East to West and North to South. It will carry Tanga Tanga rubish to the sea,” he said at a rally in Kibera.
But in a rejoinder, Ruto, urged the proponents of the constitution reforms to embrace an all-inclusive debate to avoid pitting Kenyans against each other.
He said all Kenyans should be allowed to express their views on the debate to allow a win-win outcome.
“Let us engage in an open conversation without creating camps on the constitution reforms. There should be no losers but a win-win situation for the sake of unity and harmony in the country,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President was speaking in Ainabkoi, Uasin Gishu county, during the opening of Living Room International Hospital which will specialise in the care of patients of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Ruto was accompanied by, among others, Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago and his deputy Daniel Chemno, area MP William Chepkut, Caleb Kositany (Soy), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Michael Mwangi (Ol Jorok ).
Ruto urged Kenyans to ignore leaders who want to divide them along the lines of those who are for and against the review of the Constitution, for their own selfish political gains.
The DP also directed the local administration to enlist all the people who qualify for cash transfer programmes.
He said many elderly people, widows and people living with disabilities in rural areas were yet to be enlisted.