Enough is enough, Uhuru tells Ruto-allied lawmakers
Eric Wainaina and Mathew Ndung’u
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday declared war on elected leaders allied to his deputy William Ruto, who are opposed to his national unity project with Opposition leader Raila Odinga, saying he was tired of their “nonsense”.
The Head of State also appeared to support a proposal to have the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report subjected to the popular vote, and asked MPS to keep off the process and let Kenyans decide the document’s fate.
“We shall come and we will deliberate on these issues, we shall have a conversation because a time has come and we are saying that enough is enough. We are tired.
Before we released the report they were loitering for a whole month yapping about some things, now it’s out, now they are talking about a different route. Those are people who do not know where they are going,” said the President.
The message appeared targeted at leaders opposed to the March 9, 2018 Handshake between the President and Raila.
The leaders, who coalesce around Ruto and are known as the Tanga Tanga group, have lately taken the position that the BBI report should be taken to MPs to decide the next course of action.
Yesterday, Uhuru asked Kenyans to read the report on their own because it proposes serious issues that affect them, such as representation and distribution of resources, which sometimes lead to conflict among Kenyans.
A visibly agitated President told the Ruto-allied MPs to stop “loitering around the country” discussing 2022 matters and instead concentrate on addressing issues affecting their constituents through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which he said was being looted.
“We must ask ourselves, where we have gone wrong. I have no quarrel with anyone but we must ask ourselves, where we have gone wrong. Every year, the government spends Sh70 billion in both NG-CDF and other devolved funds…
If we have been spending our money well, we would have built over 70, 000 facilities such as this,” he said, referring to a new health centre he was launching.
“In am talking with a lot of bitterness because of the annoying noises (from the leaders). Instead of doing development in their respective areas their work has been moving around shouting in meetings on how things will be (in 2022).
We don’t have fools here to be educated (on who to vote), we normally wake up very early and when that day comes, it’s God and the people who will decide who will be elected.”
The President was speaking at Mang’u village in Gatundu North constituency, Kiambu county, where he launched the expansion of St. Francis Mang’u health centre constructed by the Japanese embassy.
He appeared to target MPs and senators allied to Ruto, who, before the BBI report was unveiled, had held rallies rubbishing the initiative on grounds that it was aimed at scuttling the DP’s 2022 presidential bid.
Some said they would boycott the unveiling of the report at the Bomas of Kenya and when it was released, it has opened a new fight between supporters of the Handshake and those against it.
Those favouring the Uhuru-Raila rapprochement are pushing for the report to be taken to the people to decide on its implementation while those opposed to it want it taken to Parliament.
Last week, in what was viewed as a show of defiance against the President, 57 elected leaders from Mount Kenya region allied to the DP, and who have been vocal against the BBI, converged in Embu on Saturday.
While the leaders, who were led by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, said they had met to study the report and discuss development issues affecting the region, they reportedly used the meeting to plot a fight back against the President and his agenda.
Present were Senator Susan Kihika (Nakuru), MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Cate Waruguru (Laikipia County) and Purity Ngirichi (Kirinyaga County).
Yesterday, the President asked Kenyans to read the report and not to allow their leaders, some of whom have declared they will hold sensitisation campaigns on the document, to manipulate them.
He also appeared to suggest leaders who have been speaking against the BBI were doing so on behalf of somebody else, saying he was well briefed on what was happening.
“They normally see me quiet and they think that I do not understand (what is happening on the ground). There is nothing that I do not know. . . I know who speaks and they are not the ones talking now ... when the time comes, we shall come together and we shall have a discussion on what to do,” he said.
Local politicians present were not given opportunity to address the public at the function which saw Kiambu politics play out, with embattled Governor Ferdinand Waititu, who is battling corruption charges, left out as his deputy James Nyoro was recognised.
Waititu, who was until recently a fierce critic of the BBI process, sat at the far left corner of the second row while his deputy was at the opposite corner. Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, area MP Wanjiku Kibe, Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege and her Kiambu counterpart Gathoni wa Muchomba, sat in the front row next to the President.