Ruto, Raila camps clash over proposals by Building Bridges Initiative

Sunday, October 27th, 2019 22:49 | By
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (second, left) with governors Kiraitu Murungi (left), Cornel Rasanga (second, right) and Rev Canon Peter Karanja (centre) during a thanksgiving service for the Methodist Church presiding Bishop Joseph Ntombura (right) in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Daggers have been drawn between camps supporting Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga over the contents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

While the Ruto camp has openly declared its aversion to the yet-to-be-released report, Raila has asked Kenyans to back the initiative.

The Opposition leader yesterday stepped up his war of words with Ruto and other critics of the BBI, accusing them of campaigning before the contents of the report had been made public.

And yesterday,  some Jubilee Party MPs vowed to rally Kenyans to reject the outcome of the BBI if it would call for the change of Constitution to create positions for some individuals. The leaders said BBI was a top-down initiative that had nothing to do with mwananchi.

Speaking in Nyeri, the  MPs said the composition of the BBI team was biased, noting that those from the ODM wing were lawyers and professionals well versed in matters of the law while the Jubilee side was represented by leaders whose area of interest was in peace, unity and reconciliation.

 They included MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), John Muchiri (Manyatta), Jayne Kihara (Naivasha), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Gichuki Mwangi (Tetu), Rehema Jaldesa (Isiolo), Mugambi Rindikiri (Buuri), Halima Mucheke (Nominated), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Rahab Mukami (Nyeri) and Gichugi Mugambi (Othaya).

They said BBI proponents were pursuing selfish agenda at the expense of public interest.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka also waded into the debate and warned politicians against doubting the BBI report. He said the report would give enough room to amend it after it is released.

Kalonzo said it was imperative for politicians not to pour cold water on the report but instead wait for it to deliver its findings to the public.

Garissa Town MP  Aden Duale said tribalism, ethnic violence and inclusivity would be a thing of the past if recommendations by the BBI team were fully implemented.

While Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula said unless the document embodied inclusivity and fair distribution of resources, it would be met with resistance.

Elsewhere, Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya accused some Mount Kenya leaders of adopting ‘an isolationist’ approach towards the report.

The MPs had said for the region to support the BBI, it must address under-representation of the region.

In Nyamira, some MPs said they would rally behind the initiative if its proposals would deepen devolution. Leaders present were Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, MPs Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Malala Injendi (Malava), Enock Kibunguchi (Likuyani), John Waluke (Sirisia), Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South) and Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango).

Others were Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.

“How come it has taken this long to prepare this report? It appears to have ill-intention for this country,” said Washiali.

 Khalwale said they would back a review of the Constitution which does not create more seats for some leaders, and put an extra burden on the people. 

“If the BBI committee got genuine views from Kenyans, why are they hiding their report?” asked  Kemose.

Support recommendations

Members of the Inua Mama Movement, on the other hand, said they would only support recommendations aimed at empowering women and increase of resources allocated at the grassroots.

Kandara MP Alice Wahome said Kenyans should reject the BBI if it fails to address women’s interests and the spirit of devolution. While Jumwa said Kenyans were not ready for a referendum as it was costly.

 Meanwhile, Christian and Muslim leaders in Kakamega warned that differences between Ruto and Raila would cause divisions.

Over the weekend, ODM leaders led by Raila admonished some politicians for attempting to poison the public against a document whose contents were not public.

Reporting by Anthony Mwangi, Clement Kamau, Sophie Njoka, Robert Ochoro, Benard Gitau, Alvin Mwangi, David Musundi and Seth Mwaniki

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