Raila: Referendum storm will sweep Ruto’s team

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses a crowd at a rally in Kibra. [David Gichuru, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has warned Deputy President William Ruto and his allies they risk being swept by a political storm should they oppose constitutional reforms proposed by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Raila said the BBI team was currently writing its report which will be made public next month for Kenyans to give further views before the country can go for a referendum which he declared will sweep away Tanga Tanga allies – a reference to Ruto’s camp.

“There are very good views from Kenyans and once the report is out, we will publish it for Kenyans to give their views then go for a referendum. I have seen a storm, there are signs that it will rain. There’s is a storm that will take all the Tanga Tanga people to the ocean,” said Raila amid cheers by the wild crowd at Kamukunji grounds.

Dr Ruto has publicly declared his opposition to any initiative seeking to expand the Executive through the creation of a Prime Minister position and two deputies.  Most of the submissions to the team formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila have suggested expansion of the Executive.

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Speaking in Kibra yesterday, the Opposition chief described some of the views collected by the team as “very good” and asked Kenyans to back amendments to the 2010 Constitution.

He further asked people to ignore the Punguza Mizigo Initiative by Ekuru Aukot’s Thirdway Alliance which is currently before the 47 county assemblies.

Other initiatives

“Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is already writing its report and it will be made public next month. If they recommend a referendum, we will go for it. Those bringing other initiatives should be ignored,” said Raila. 

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Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang also took a swipe at Punguza Mizigo, arguing it was unrealistic to have two MPs for each of the 47 counties as proposed by the Bill.

The former premier spoke when he unveiled 24 aspirants seeking the party ticket in the Kibra by-election.

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He announced that the outfit will conduct its primaries on Saturday before it can submit its nominee to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by September 3.

Tomorrow, the party will subject the aspirants to vetting that will see non-loyal aspirants weeded out.

Raila said the party’s National Elections Board will look at details of the aspirants, including when they joined the party, before they can be allowed to participate in the nominations.

Yesterday’s rally was used by the aspirants to share their manifesto for the constituency, with a majority promising to continue with the late MP’s legacy in education.

Bruising contest

The rally provided a peak preview of the expected bruising contest for the party ticket. The scramble for the ticket has been fuelled by the party's popularity in the area as well as Jubilee Party’s plan to back ODM in the race.

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Sources in Jubilee have indicated that the party might follow the precedent set in other by-elections like in Embakasi South, Ugenya, Kitui and Migori where it pulled out in support of ODM and Wiper Party of Kalonzo Musyoka.

But Tuju yesterday maintained that the party was still consulting and will make its official position known this week.

At the rally, former Embakasi South MP Irshad Sumra was forced to withdraw from the race at the podium following a hostile reception by the crowd.

“I have not come to contest. I have come to support Kibra people. I am not in the race,” said Sumra amid jeers.

Makadara MP George Aladwa cooled down the charged crowd that Sumra had pulled out of the race.

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Bernard Otieno Imran, the late Ken Okoth’s brother, also found himself in trouble with the crowd over the controversial cremation of the former Kibra MP.

He explained to the crowd that it was not his decision but was just fulfilling Okoth's wishes. “Ken Okoth was a family man and we did as he had wished,” he said.

Imran pledged to continue with his brother’s agenda in supporting the education of children in the sprawling informal settlement.

Other aspirants paraded during the rally include Joshua Orero, Sigar Agumba, Kenyanito Dudi, Melvin Moraa, Ochieng Jera, DJ Chris Darlin, ODM youth leader Benson Musungu, Steve Oguwa, Brian Owino and Obarics Ochieng’.

Toi Ogola, John Otieno Mila, Gore Mohammed, Lumumba Owade, Robinson Odhiambo, Ojijo Obama and Ngesa Mbarare are also in the race.

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Deputy President William RutoODM leader Raila OdingaEkuru Aukot’s Thirdway Alliance