Ruto cronies to push for bills in favour of poor

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Deputy President William Ruto when he met 136 MPs at his Karen residence in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday rallied lawmakers  allied to him ahead of the re-opening of Parliament today in what is expected to be a heated session as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaign gains momentum.

Speaking after the meeting, the MPs said they were ready to face the planned impeachment motion against Ruto and urged the plotters to bring it at the earliest time possible.

“The impeachment plot is a none issue. It was not part of the agenda today. However, we urge the plotters to bring it anytime, we are waiting for it,” said Garissa Town MP Aden Duale.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula has said he is in the process of collecting signatures to prepare a motion seeking to remove Ruto from office.

The legislators urged the international community, including the African Union and United Nations, to turn its focus on Kenya and help the country avoid a precipitous descent into a political meltdown as next year’s election draws near.

“It is because many international allies stood with Kenya in the past that we overcame colonisation, dictatorship and other forms of tyranny.

We call upon them all once again, including the European Union, the US, the United Kingdom and all friends of Kenya to stand, watch and monitor our souring political environment,” said the MPs in the statement.

 The caucus said that during the parliamentary sittings they will champion pro-people Bills, mainly those aimed at reviving the economy.

“We shall, in particular, use our numerical strength in Parliament to push through the operationalisation of the Tea Act, resolution of our miraa and livestock farmers market access issues, passage of Coffee Bill, Sugar Bill and Crops Amendment Bill that focuses on cashew nuts, coconut and bixa,” they said.

They accused the State of actively and deliberately pushing the country towards the collapse of the rule of law and paralysis of oversight institutions.

On the BBI and the impending referendum, they said as leaders, they were in touch with the people on a continuous basis and with their needs and aspirations, adding that constitutional changes are not a priority at the moment.

Said the MPs: “We remain committed and focused on the people’s needs that include the revival of the economy, addressing the health, education, agricultural and other socio-economic challenges.

Should the country be forced into a referendum, then citizens should be provided with information on what is being changed, for what purpose and in whose benefit.

The parliamentarians claimed that there was a plot to assassinate some of them in order to silence their voices.

Causes mayhem

They claimed they were aware of a special ‘officially-sanctioned’ hit-squad allegedly formed to perpetrate political violence as recently witnessed in Kenol, Murang’a County, and Msambweni in Kwale, and that it had been tasked to cause violence at Ruto’s functions held at the  Coast this past weekend.

“We understand the squad’s mission is to instigate targeted political violence, kidnap political leaders and execute political assassinations,” read a statement signed by 139 MPs who attended the meeting that  was chaired by Ruto.

The group did not, however, offer any evidence to back their claims, nor did they give details on who was behind the hit squad or how it was operating  besides citing incidents where meetings have been disrupted.

However, they claimed police officers in plain clothes, who have been attending their rallies, were likely to be used to cause mayhem and blame it on their followers.

“We shudder at the thought of Kenya going back to the ominous dark era of political assassinations that characterised the late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s,” the MPs stated.

They called on Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to “take charge” and disband the alleged group, failing which he would be held responsible for any atrocity committed by the squad.

“We demand that the Inspector-General of Police takes charge and ensures that all officers deployed at political meetings, rallies, by-elections and indeed all other electoral events are in official uniform, and have their service numbers and names prominently displayed on their badges,” stated the MPs.

“As a nation, we deliberately took a categorical historic decision to abandon that era of grief, terror and mayhem, and declared that never again would we backslide.

These developments, therefore, herald a horrific betrayal of Kenya and all Kenyans,” read the statement.

 “Consequently, citizens should be allowed to decide in an environment devoid of intimidation, blackmail, use of force and bribery.”

They said they were concerned by the emergence of a deliberate policy to re introduce ethnic mobilisation and regional balkanisation of the country’s politics.

This, they said, follows a perverse “Big Tent” political model where self-appointed ethnic chiefs are invited to dictate and also “eat” on behalf of the people.

Focal point

“The tragedy of this model is that it makes ethnicity the focal point of politics, turning toxic ethnic contestation into the key feature of our democracy,” the MPs noted.

They expressed concern over the way critics of the State were being hauled into “detention”and charged with trumped-up charges.

“Worrisomely, we are witnessing the return of detention without trial through misuse of the police and the criminal justice system where individuals are held without the benefit of a judicial hearing, with every effort being made to evade and override constitutional control and undermine fundamental human rights,” the MPs stated.

They urged independent commissions and the Judiciary not allow themselves to be intimidated and weaponised for political purposes by political actors in privileged positions.

“They must stand firm and uphold their independent constitutional mandate to strengthen the rule of law and protect human rights.

We urge the acting Chief Justice and the entire Judicial Service Commission to address this worrying trend and safeguard the independence of the Judiciary,” said the MPs.

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