Ruto defends bid to create office of opposition leader
President William Ruto has defended a push to create the office of the official opposition leader, saying the position will make the group more effective in keeping the government in check.
Speaking during an interdenominational church service at Wanjohi Primary School grounds in Nyandarua county, on Sunday, December 11, the Head of State said his government is committed to supporting the oversight role of the opposition for the benefit of all Kenyans.
Reacting to recent calls for protests from the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition, Ruto asked the opposition to perform their oversight role in a 'peaceful and patriotic manner'.
"We are not afraid of being kept in check but it should be done in a patriotic manner. We encourage our friends in the opposition. We have no quarrel with them doing whatever it is that they are doing as an opposition to keep their oversight role. All we are asking them is that we must do this in an environment of peace and being patriots so that we can do what is good for the people of Kenya," Ruto said.
The President noted that empowering the opposition would bring much-needed transformation to the country.
"I am a great believer in an accountable government and that is what we want our oversight institutions to be empowered so that they can help us run an accountable government which will bring transformation," President Ruto added.
Ruto's appeal to Kenya Kwanza MPs
The President's remarks come amid a heightened debate over the proposal to amend the constitution to introduce the new office, with a section of legislators accusing the President of re-introducing proposals in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which he strongly opposed during the campaign period.
The proposed law, which Kenya Kwanza MPs have been asked to pass, will give long-serving opposition leader Raila Odinga powers to appoint his allies to independent and constitutional commissions and address Parliament and the nation periodically.
The law will also give Raila and future holders of the office powers and discretion to solicit and mobilise for funding from donors as one way to supplement its budgetary allocation and to finance its activities.
Addressing Kenya Kwanza MPs at the Windsor Country Club last Monday, Ruto urged the legislators to speed up the passage of the Bill to create the office of the Official Opposition leader.
“We need to accommodate the opposition; do not make things personal," Ruto said while addressing the MPs during a two-day symposium.
Raila's Azimio coalition has also fronted a similar proposal.
The coalition that lost to Kenya Kwanza in the last poll, wants the opposition leader allowed to address Parliament annually.