Ruto allies dismiss dialogue committee’s report, say no money for referendum
Members of parliament allied to President William Ruto have rubbished some of the National Dialogue Committee proposals in the report that was released on Saturday, November 25, 2023.
The politicians led by Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said some of the proposals would require a referendum, hence affecting the country's economic growth.
Speaking during a Sunday service at St Andrew's Old Stadium ACK Church in Embu town, the MPs said they won’t allow any contest that will interfere with the growth and stabilization of the economy.
Nyoro reflected on the 2003 election, the referendum of 2005 and other elections that followed, saying the heightened political activities slowed down Kenya's economy.
"I have read the report by the National Dialogue Committee and the way I stated earlier Kenyans went to the election and chose their leaders. Kenya is a democratic country, we can no longer continue to discuss about which leader will occupy which position," he remarked.
"It's the wrong time to talk about those things now. For some of the issues they have proposed to actualized, they need a referendum and we cannot subject Kenya to a contest," Nyoro said while citing the country's economic hardships.
The legislator, who is also the chairman of the budget and appropriation committee in the National Assembly, mocked some of the demands made by the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition including lowering of the cost of living following the committee's failure to strike a consensus on the matter.
He noted that the cost of maize flour (unga) was coming due to some interventions that the government had put in place.
Nyoro's sentiments were echoed by Manyatta MP Gitonga Mukunji who said the Azimio team was only after leadership positions and not championing the plight of Kenyans.
Mbeere North MP Geoffrey Ruku also took issue with the National Dialogue Committee proposals that he said did not reflect the wishes of many Kenyans to tackle the cost of living.
Agreed in the report that was released yesterday is the creation of the Office of Leader of the Opposition, which will be occupied by the leader of the party that garnered the second-highest number of votes in the presidential election with two deputies.
The 10-member committee, co-chaired by Azimio's Kalonzo Musyoka and his Kenya Kwanza counterpart Kimani Ichung'wah also agreed on the entrenchment of the Prime Cabinet Secretary's office into the constitution.
The previously sticky issue about party fidelity was also agreed upon.
The two sides also recommended the establishment of the Independent Political Parties Regulatory Commission as an independent body to oversight parties.
NADCO said the commission will be responsible for the registration of political parties and their office holder as well as managing political parties' funds, functions that currently fall under the mandate of the office of Registrar of Political Parties.
On electoral justice, the two sides agreed on the audit of the 2022 electoral process.
Other leaders who were present included Runyenjes Member of Parliament Eric Muchangi, Embu Woman Representative Njoki Njeru, and Embu flamboyant businessman Ken Java among other leaders.
In contrast, President Ruto, while speaking at a separate function in Kahawa West, Roysambu Constituency on Sunday, endorsed the report and committed to implementing it in full.
“You’ve heard that those in charge of the dialogue are done with that work, and we applaud them for finishing that task, now let us join hands and take Kenya forward,” Ruto remarked.
President Ruto further hailed the committee for its recommendations on austerity measures the government should embrace to reduce national expenditure.
“They have given recommendations all those recommendations are okay. Where they said we lower government spending by 50%, I have done that already. Those calling for the budget cuts to be reduced by 30%, I suggest that they increase it to 50% for Kenya to move forward. We must learn to live within our means,” he added.