Ruto, MPs query use of public resources in BBI meetings
A section of leaders including Deputy President William Ruto have questioned the use of public resources at hurriedly convened public barazas in the name of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
The leaders said there was no need for the ongoing political mobilisation as no one was opposed to the initiative.
“What are all these campaigns for? Who do they want to persuade? Is it a way of misusing government resources?” posed Ruto.
He said there was no need for using resources on the BBI as the entire country supported it.
“If there are those opposing BBI, let them not hide behind these campaigns,” he explained. “They should come out and say what they are opposed to,” Ruto said.
Others were MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Catherine Wambilianga (Woman Rep, Bungoma) and former Kanduyi MP Alfred Khang'ati.
The leaders spoke on Friday in Emuhaya and Tongaren constituencies where the Deputy President led empowerment programmes in Esibakala Primary School and Friends Secondary School Musembe, Tongaren, respectively.
The legislators said it was unbelievable that billions of shillings were being wasted on matters to do with the BBI yet no one has objected to its recommendations.
They said public funds being used on mobilisation should be channelled to more pressing issues like building hospitals, schools, roads, buying maize from farmers and funding the Judiciary.
“I am shocked today that money is being used on BBI issues that no one has objected. This is strange,” said Wanyama.
The MP said leaders from Western Kenya had requested the government for Sh1 billion and Sh2 billion to revive Nzoia and Mumias sugar factories respectively.
“We’ve not been given funds to revive the sugar factories but Sh 10 billion is being used on BBI that has no value to the lives of Kenyans,” said Wanyama.
Waluke said Chief Justice David Maraga has said operations at the courts have come to a halt because of lack of money yet there were funds available for the BBI that was meant to benefit some few individuals.
“We have been told there is no money for development projects yet billions of shillings are being used to popularise the activities of one man, ODM leader Raila Odinga ahead of 2022 elections through BBI,” said Waluke.
The legislators said the so-called Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila has paralysed government development projects including the Big Four agenda: Manufacturing, Housing, Healthcare and Food Security.
The Deputy President said there was a reason for Kenyans to worry, as BBI report copies had not been availed to them.
“Are there politicians who want to make a decision for Kenyans?” he asked.
On the basis that no one had a problem with BBI, Ruto argued that the report should be implemented and the resources being used channeled to productive activities that would better the lives of Kenyans.
“We want to bring an end to all these BBI issues and focus on the transformation of our country via the Big Four agenda and Vision 2030,” added Ruto.
He said it was clear that some leaders were opposed to the BBI recommendations that were launched in Bomas because it did not take into consideration their selfish interests.
“It was made clear by the President that copies should be made available for the people to decide for themselves. When is it now that it is the leaders who are making decisions for the people?’ asked Ruto.
He added: “Where do they find the money to campaign for a document that has no opposition?
He told leaders to exercise honesty and sincerity on matters pertaining to BBI, instead of taking Kenyans in circles.
“How do you popularise a document that has no opposition? A document that has been embraced by all? We should be honest,” said Ruto.
Barasa said it was unfair for the Government to claim that there was no money for striking teachers and lecturers yet there were ready funds for BBI whose recommendations have been supported by all Kenyans.
“We are being told there is no money for development projects and the ones to pay for striking lecturers but we have enough money for BBI popularization that no one has objected to. This is unfair,” said Barasa.
Mwambu said it was the responsibility of the government to print copies for Kenyans to read and make their decisions.
“We are now told to go to Kakamega so that Raila Odinga reads the BBI document for us. This is a shame,” said Mwambu.
Wambilianga said the money that was being collected from ‘mama mbogas’ in form of patriotism tax were being used to fund BBI activities.
“As Ford-Kenya we are not attending the Kakamega meeting because the function is aimed at popularising the presidential bid of Raila Odinga ahead of 2022 and has nothing to do with the BBI recommendations,” said Wambilianga. - DPPS