Ruto rejects calls for referendum on law reforms

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Deputy President William Ruto chats with Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri during the burial of Martha Kirigo, mother of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, in Nyeri county, yesterday. Photo/PD/Joseph King’ori

Seth Mwaniki and DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto has rejected calls for constitution changes through a referendum, terming those harbouring such intentions misguided. 

He also declared that President Uhuru Kenyatta has no intention of extending his stay in power as has been claimed by some politicians.

Ruto said the push to have the constitution changed was meant to serve individual interests.

“Those going round telling people that the Constitution will be changed should be ignored because they are political conmen and brokers,” he said.

“We are progressives. President Uhuru has rich legacy which cannot be stained by the push for constitutional changes,” the DP added.

Ruto spoke yesterday during the burial of Martha Kirigo, mother of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and the first Nyeri governor, late Nderitu Gachagua, at the family home at Hiriga in the constituency.

Political backyard

The President skipped the high profile burial ceremony in his political backyard, which was dominated by politicians allied to his deputy.

And the more than 50 MPs and senators, who also raised similar concerns on the push to change the Constitution through a referendum.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria dismissed claims by former Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe that the President was keen to stay in power in a different capacity.

He said the remarks that the President was too young to retire at the end of his second term and will be picked as a Prime Minister in the expanded executive were not baseless, but ill-informed.

 “Ignore those (drunkards) claiming that the President wants to extend his tenure. Unless he talks himself, do not take any word from them,” said Kuria, adding that Uhuru will retire upon completion of his second term.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has proposed creation of the post of Prime Minister with two deputies. 

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa declared that the BBI will not deter them from supporting Ruto to succeed Uhuru in 2022.

Jumwa questioned what she called secrecy surrounding the operations of BBI.

“Where are the promised BBI report copies for Kenyans to read? Why seek to popularise what no Kenyan has opposed? Those funds should be channelled to the Big Four agenda,” she said. 

Put house in order

Senate Leader of Majority Kipchumba Murkomen asked the President  “to put his house in order” before giving first priority to other things. 

He blamed the wrangles in Jubilee government on Uhuru, who he claimed has neglected his role as the party leader.

The rivalry between the Tanga Tanga group, which is allied to the DP, and the Kieleweke faction associated with the President played out at the funeral when an MP attempted to represent the President at the funeral.

However, Ruto reprimanded Kieni MP Kanini Kega, who claimed to have been sent by the President to deliver a condolence message to the Gachagua family.

“Every person should do their job and not go round doing jobs that are not meant for them. I am the elected assistant to our President and I must do that work. We must, therefore, respect each other,” he said.

Kanini even presented Sh500,000 cash money to Rigathi Gachagua saying it was a donation to the family from the President.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri andNyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga attended the funeral.

 Gachagua stressed that Jubilee was united under the leadership of President Uhuru and his deputy.

He said Mt Kenya region should be allowed to make its political plans to cater for post-President Uhuru era in 2022.

“People who have never even voted for President Uhuru should stop lecturing us on how we should respect him (President),” he said.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika asked leaders to be honest and speak truth to power. She defended Wahome over claims she was disrespectful to the President.

“She spoke the truth; we must speak the truth to power if we are to move forward together,” she said.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa asked Kenyans to avoid leaders whose modus operandi is deceit, betrayal and dishonesty.

“We made that commitment knowingly when we united Kenyans under Jubilee in 2013 because we wanted to transform the country,” said Ichung’wa.

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