Ruto dismisses push for referendum

Deputy President William Ruto chats with a Kenyan as they register Huduma Namba. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto has vowed to oppose any referendum that includes proposals to create new positions in government.

In an interview on a local television station, the Deputy President called on proponents of Constitution change to harmonise their proposals.

Referring to Ekuru Aukot’s referendum Bill dubbed Punguza Mizigo that has gone to county assemblies for approval, Dr Ruto accused proponents of law reforms of bombarding the public with multiple processes.

“A referendum that addresses the needs of wananchi and eases their burden is the way to go. The two sides that are fronting issues for a public vote ought to sit, deliberate and prosecute key matters that will be put to Kenyans,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Aukot ideas to be in BBI despite fall of Punguza Mzigo

The remarks appeared to hit at some of the proposals floated before the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constituted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga to collect views on a possible referendum to expand the Executive.

Some of the proposals submitted to the BBI are creation of the position of a powerful prime minister and two deputies. The DP downplayed widely reported wrangles in the ruling Jubilee Party, and denied that there was a rift between him and Uhuru.

“We have a working relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Our rapport goes back a long time. We share a vision of unity, prosperity and common good for all Kenyans,” he said.

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He insisted that reports of a rift between him and Uhuru and rampant corruption in Government were being peddled by “political busybodies and hangers-on.”

“They have looked around and cannot say William Ruto is incompetent; they cannot say William Ruto doesn’t have ideas. So the corruption narrative is convenient to them,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Never-say-die: Aukot returns with new ideas to change law

Ruto defended a tweet in which he seemed to attack Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju for working for Raila, saying it was taken out of context. He said the tweet was an expression of surprise that people could confuse the secretary general for an opposition strategist.

The DP took a swipe at the Opposition, accusing it of failing to put checks and balances on the Government. He suggested that the law be amended to strengthen its role.

“What we should address is that whoever loses the election has proper structure to carry out the work of the opposition in Parliament. We don’t need a referendum to address the opposition challenge. It can be done through amendments,” he said.

On the assassination plot against him, Ruto declined to divulge further details, only saying he had discussed the matter with Uhuru.

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Ekuru AukotPunguza MizigoBuilding Bridges InitiativeHuduma NambaDeputy President William Ruto