Luhya leaders chastise Ruto over referendum

Luhya leaders address journalists in Kakamega town yesterday. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]
Some Luhya politicians have claimed Deputy President William Ruto is opposing the call for referendum merely to undermine President Uhuru Kenyatta for associating with Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

Ruto, who spoke during the homecoming ceremony for Sirisia MP John Waluke on Sunday, claimed those pushing for constitutional change were doing so for selfish gain.

He called on Kenyans not to be hoodwinked to support a change of the Constitution claiming that would only enable a few people to be rewarded with Government positions.

“They want to get rid of MCAs in their proposal. They are forgetting the ward representatives are there to take care of the welfare of the people. Proponents of the referendum are only out to seek their own gain,” Ruto said.

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The President has, however, not pronounced himself on the referendum issue.

Yesterday, several politicians from Western Kenya, drawn from ANC and ODM, claimed Ruto’s opposition to a constitutional review call was disrespectful to the President.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala claimed Ruto was using some MPs from the region to hit at the President for working with Raila, the ODM leader.

“DP Ruto has been funding homecoming ceremonies for MPs in Western in his bid to sell himself to the electorate. He has also been using such events to attack the President and Raila. His motives are not good. He is an enemy of change,” said Malala.

He added: “Ruto is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the 2010 Constitution even after he opposed it. Again, he is out to undermine the President who is supporting the push to have a referendum aimed at creating an inclusive government. If he is tired of being a Deputy President, let him resign and form his own government.”

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ANC Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi said Ruto had no capacity to be president. “We are not interested in his games. We have our own leaders who are more qualified to run for presidency as their names are not tainted,” Osotsi told a Press conference in Kakamega town.

Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua of ODM said: “Kenyans want the Constitution changed and Ruto cannot stop it. And why is he afraid of the referendum?”

MPs who accompanied Ruto in Sirisia were Malulu Injendi (Malava), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and Emanuel Wangwe (Navakholo). All opposed the referendum calls.

Mr Barasa has questioned the deal between Uhuru and Raila, terming it a move to undermine Ruto.

He asked the President to state the position Raila was holding in the Jubilee administration, claiming he (Uhuru) had elevated the opposition leader above the DP.

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Luhya politiciansWilliam RutoRaila OdingaReferendum