Raila wants BBI rallies to end in March as DP Ruto digs in

ODM leader Raila Odinga (right), Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua (centre) and Siaya senator James Orengo (left) during the burial of John Okinda in Murende, Matayos constituency, Busia County. (Ignatius Odanga, Standard)
ODM leader Raila Odinga now wants the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meetings to close by March and a referendum held soon after.

This came as Raila allies demanded constitutional changes to allow the president to rein in an errant deputy while Deputy President William Ruto threatened to shoot down the proposed constitutional changes.

Yesterday, Raila said there was no need for the BBI taskforce to engage the public directly but instead, they should allow politicians to share contents of the report with citizens.

He disclosed that some BBI issues will be handled administratively while others will be tabled in the referendum. Raila dared those who “like opposing things every time” to come forward and oppose BBI.

SEE ALSO :GEMA’s views of the BBI

“We are now talking to Kenyans and we are going to visit all former provinces. We want consultations on BBI to be concluded by March and have referendum,” Raila said in Matayos constituency in Busia, during the burial of John Okinda,

But speaking in Kericho Teachers Training College during the installation of the new Kericho Catholic diocese Bishop Rt Rev Alfred Rotich, the DP and his allies said they will reject the BBI taskforce report if it leans towards politicians with selfish interests.

“The task force must open a new chapter if we are to walk together as citizens of Kenya. Every Kenyan has a right in the BBI journey. We will reject any proposals inserted to serve selfish interest. We demand honesty in the process,” Ruto said.

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Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen claimed that a “bad wind” was blowing in the country with the aim of tearing Jubilee Party apart.

“We want the BBI rallies and the BBI conversation to be devoid of personal interests. The church should be the voice of reason and guide the country forward so that politicians don’t use BBI to create offices to serve their own interests,” he said.

SEE ALSO :The wars in Uhuru and Raila political parties

Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa claimed that there was a scheme by a section of Mt Kenya leaders to extend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term.

He said that the president should leave office honourably when his tenure ends.

“Our stand is that the constitution must be respected. As a leader from Mt Kenya region, I will be not be part of the area where leaders scheme to extend Kenyatta’s term,” Mr Ichungwa said.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang accused the President and Raila of dishonesty over BBI.

Political tragedy

SEE ALSO :Uhuru, Raila shouldn’t hide behind BBI push

“The level of dishonestly and deceit within the county’s leadership is shocking. The tragedy of it all is that there is no strong voice to tell us that we are fooling ourselves over BBI. The truth of the matter is that we are burning bridges,” Mr Sang said.

Although a section of Ruto allies rejected the creation of the Office of Prime Minister, Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia urged the DP to support the proposal.

“If the fight is over the creation of a powerful Prime Minister don’t waste time but go for it. No seat is reserved for anyone,” he said.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi when invited to speak by Governor Paul Chepkwony steered clear of BBI politics and instead called for inclusivity.

“Kenya belongs to all of us. Leaders must cooperate with each other and bring calmness to the county. I am not going to politic too much today,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Could BBI morph into another political party?

At the same time Raila questioned the source of the millions of shillings Ruto contributes at funds drives.

The ODM leader challenged the DP to clear the air on his office’s links to the multi-million shillings con deal involving former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa.

“Some dish out millions of money every weekend carried in sacks. When challenged on the source they say they are investing in heaven. You cannot bribe God,” Raila said.

Siaya Senator James Orengo claimed that Ruto’s office is now a crime scene. He challenged Ruto to come out and tell Kenyans what he knows about the scandal.  

“For the office of DP to have some respect, he must come out and speak. If he doesn’t know what happened then there is something wrong with him. It is not possible that people can come in your office, meet, talk but you fail to know,” he said.

Raila accused the Judiciary of being lenient to graft lords and appealed to Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Hajj and Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI) George Kinoti to extend the probe to the Judiciary.

He wondered how American courts convicted the Akasha brothers yet it was difficult for the local Judiciary to do the same.

Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga said it is unfortunate that the DP and President Kenyatta were working at cross purposes. He demanded constitutional changes to rein in the situation.

“Let there be a provision in the Constitution that the president can take action against his deputy if he fails to toe the line,” Mr Odanga said.

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Raila OdingaBuilding Bridges InitiativeWilliam RutoBBI