Ruto allies pile pressure on bid to change report

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 00:00 |
Deputy William Ruto allies, led by Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie (centre) address the press yesterday at a Nairobi hotel. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

Leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto have sustained pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) boss Raila Odinga to allow changes to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

 The leaders, who mainly coalesce around the Tanga tanga wing, at a press conference yesterday at Serena Hotel, demanded that the President and Raila allow further changes to the document before it is subjected to a referendum.

They spoke a day after the two principals heeded to demands from leaders of the pastoralist communities to incorporate their views in the report before it is subjected to a referendum. 

President Uhuru and Raila had previously appeared to slam the doors on any further amendments to the document as demanded by a section of the political class led by Ruto and Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi.

In a joint statement read on the leaders’ behalf by Tharaka MP George Muragara, the group demanded that all divergent voices be heard and their views incorporated in the report before it can be voted for or against during the referendum expected mid next year.

“A constitutional amendment is a sacred national duty that should be divorced from the whims of partisan politics.

All stakeholders’ responses to the BBI report must be listened to and sufficiently addressed.

We strongly condemn lone greedy voices who are keen on locking out other Kenyans from this process,” Muragara said.

 They, for instance, demanded further consultation on proposals touching on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission terming them “seriously contentious.” 

They protested that BBI task-force team rejected a memorandum by the Kuria community in Migori.

 New direction

The leaders included Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy), John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), Wangui Ngirichi (Kirinyaga) and Liz Chelule (Nakuru) who protested being sidelined. 

 They, however, welcomed the “new direction of discourse” the BBI has taken where various groups continue to push for their interests to be factored in the report, saying consensus building on the various issues has been their clarion call.

 This followed a Monday meeting in which Raila met a section of Cabinet Secretaries, governors, MPs and Ward Reps from pastoralist communities at Serena Hotel. 

Raila received a raft of proposals the leaders want accommodated in the document. They include revenue allocation, extension of Equalisation Fund lifespan, representation, creation of a Livestock Marketing Authority, community land protection, making the Senate the Upper House; oppose creation of a Judiciary Ombudsman and Health Commission.

 This was a change of tune from the Naivasha meeting with lawmakers from the two Houses last week when it was decided that the report would not be amended.

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