Ruto tells off leaders in push for extension of Uhuru term
Deputy President (DP) William Ruto has dismissed politicians peddling false information that President Uhuru Kenyatta wants to extend his term in office.
He said Uhuru was a firm believer of principles of democracy and would not entertain such a proposal.
The DP said such misinformation was causing unnecessary confusion among Kenyans.
“I do not think the President has told anyone that he wants his term extended. So, where are these people getting all this information,” he posed.
Ruto spoke at his Karen residence in Nairobi during a meeting with a section of politicians allied to him.
Present were MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Nixon Korir (Lang’ata), former Amani National Congress party Secretary-General Eliud Owalo, former Senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) and Johnson Muthama (Machakos).
At the same time, Ruto called for transparency and inclusivity in talks about constitutional amendments.
“As we discuss the Constitution, let us treat all Kenyans equally. Let us not have cards under the table,” he said.
The DP asked Kenyans to stand up against those using blackmail and intimidation to influence their political stand.
He said the country would no longer be held hostage by leaders who thrive in retrogressive politics.
Ruto’s remarks appeared directed at Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli, who was quoted over the weekend hinting that Uhuru may seek the top job in 2022 once the laws are changed through a referendum.
In an interview, Atwoli suggested that he and like-minded politicians would seek ways of ensuring Uhuru remains in active politics beyond 2022.
Atwoli drew parallels between Uhuru’s current situation with that of Daniel Moi in the run-up to the 1992 elections, which saw the latter get a fresh mandate to rule the country for another 10 years, following the re-introduction of multiparty politics.
“Why are people pretending that they don’t know that Moi, after the constitutional changes of 1991, remained in power for another decade? Once the Constitution is changed, we’ll begin from the default and nothing stops Uhuru from running again, and we will support him,” he was quoted.
He was referring to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce report expected to be launched soon.
But speaking at Karen yesterday, Ruto dismissed talk of Uhuru extending his term, saying it was unlikely to happen and was intended to intimidate Kenyans not to express their right to choose their leaders.
Gachagua said they were ready to support the proposals in the BBI but only if the needs of ordinary citizens are prioritised.
“We are not mad to oppose the BBI proposals if it is about the unity and the empowerment of the people.”
His sentiments were echoed by Khalwale who said: “We will support BBI at the right time.”
Muthama dismissed proposals to create five positions for five tribal leaders saying the move would disenfranchise small communities.
At the same time, Owalo announced he had ditched the opposition and officially joined Ruto’s camp saying the move was informed by the need for change in the country.