Ruto roots for dialogue on BBI proposals
Anthony Mwangi and DPPS
Deputy President (DP) William Ruto has accused proponents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) for pushing it down the throat of those opposed to the document.
Ruto called for dialogue and consensus on the proposals in the report, in order to prevent an expensive referendum.
Speaking at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), Munyange Parish in Othaya, Nyeri County yesterday, Dr Ruto said consensus remains key to a united country on the BBI issue.
“We don’t want competition but agreement. We want unity and not division. We must discourage a ‘us versus them’ situation on the BBI report,’ said Dr Ruto.
He urged leaders to stop using BBI as an avenue to divide Kenyans.
“I want to ask leaders to engage in sober and decent debate so as to unite the country,” he said.
Present were MPs Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi), Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka Nithi), Kareke Mbiuki (Maara), Rindikiri Mugambi (Buuri), Patrick Munene (Chuka), Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Faith Gitau (Nyandarua),
Others were Kanyuithia Mutunga (Tigania West), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town), Gichangi Mugambi (Othaya), Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), James Wamacukuru (Kabete), Rahab Mukami (Nyeri), Gichunge Kabeabea (Tigania East), Purity Ngirici (Kirinyaga) , Eric Muchangi (Runyejes) and Rehema Hassan (Tana River).
The DP said politicians should allow Kenyans to vet the BBI document and identify proposals that were omitted by the steering committee during their public forums.
He said it would be unfair if politicians ignore the proposals made by ordinary citizens, aimed at addressing the social economic challenges they face.
Ruto pitched tent in Mount Kenya region, with meetings in Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Tharaka Nithi counties.
During the tour in the vote rich region, the DP who was accompanied by over 30 MPs continued with his hustler nation campaigns giving donations to boda boda Saccos as well women and other youth groups.
The DP said leaders should not force Kenyans to support the document in a hurry, just because their issues have been addressed in the document.
“There are issues that need to be corrected. There are other issues that have not been included and yet they are part of what was proposed by Kenyans,” he said.
Ruto noted that a section of leaders were keen on misusing the BBI report to revive their dwindling political careers.
Kindiki said Kenyans will only support the BBI report, if it has robust proposals that will pull Kenyans out of poverty.
He said the port should also be used to unite Kenyans.
“We will oppose the BBI report if it does not include minimum guaranteed returns for our cash crops. We will also oppose it if it does not bring equality in the country,” he said.
Mbiuki said the report should have allocated more resources to agricultural programmes that will guarantee decent incomes for farmers.
“The one thing Kenyans want is guaranteed minimum returns for their products,” said Mbiuki.
Nyoro wondered why the organisers of BBI did not involve all leaders in the ongoing talks in Naivasha.
The Kiharu legislator said the organisers excluded those with divergent views especially on matters touching on agriculture.
“We want to tell them that if BBI was meant to unite Kenyans, then all leaders should have been invited,” he added.
The DP also attended church service at Presbyterian Church of East Africa St John Kimuchia, in Chogoria and later addressed residents at Chogoria, Marima, Mitheru and Chuka in Tharaka Nithi county.