Elections 2017

Stop behaving as if BBI is your property, DP tells off ‘some’ leaders

Deputy President William Ruto has lashed out at a section of leaders he accuses of promoting political divisions among Kenyans using the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaigns.

The DP said some leaders had created an impression that they were the owners of BBI and other Kenyans outsiders who needed their permission to participate in discussions on constitutional changes.

“The discussion should involve everyone. It should not look like there is someone controlling it while others have to seek their permission,” Dr Ruto said.

The DP spoke at Buruburu 1 Primary School in Nairobi, where he opened a new block for autistic pupils.

The statement came a day after leaders allied to him, led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, announced that they would be part of the BBI rallies around the country, starting with the weekend forum in Mombasa County.

Led by Raila

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The BBI campaigns, which started in Kisii, followed by Kakamega counties, have been led by ODM leader Raila Odinga and his allies.

The two rallies served as platforms where the Ruto-led team, perceived to be against BBI, have been castigated.

Mr Murkomen said their attendance would bring an end to the criticism they had been subjected to.

After Murkomen’s announcement, a section of leaders who had been attending the BBI rallies welcomed the move, but added that changes on campaign plans could not be made to accommodate his team.

On Wednesday, Nairobi Senator John Sakaja, MPs Kanini Kega (Kieni), Junet Mohammed (Suna East) and Fatuma Gedi (Wajir) said Coast governors would decide who speaks at the Mombasa rally.

The proclamations seem to have angered Ruto, who criticised the leaders for making BBI an affair of a clique of leaders, noting the move was dividing rather than unite Kenyans.

Despite declaring support for BBI, Ruto did not disclose if he would be attending the rallies. He said there should be no “gate keeping” and all Kenyans should be allowed to have a sense of belonging to BBI so that everyone contributes to the conversation without feeling intimidated.

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“We are all in BBI together. We need persons with special needs, mechanics, vegetable vendors and everyone else to speak their minds without anyone gate keeping them,” Ruto said in the company of several Nairobi ward representatives and MPs Nixon Korir (Lang’ata), James Gakuya (Embakasi North) and George Theuri (Embakasi West).

Ruto later launched classroom blocks at Superloaf Primary School before inspecting infrastructural development at Umoja 1 Primary School.

Meanwhile, a meeting cancelled last weekend in Mumias, and which was to be held by Ruto allies can now go on, police have said.

The police had cancelled the permit for the meeting that would have run parallel to the BBI rally at Bukhungu Stadium last Saturday, citing security reasons.

Those behind the meeting dubbed ‘Western Economic Forum’ were advised to reschedule the meeting. The group can now hold the meeting at Nabongo Grounds this Saturday, based on instructions given on January 21 by the Mumias police station.

According to Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, one of the planners, they had invited leaders from beyond the Western region. Mr Washiali and his team later condemned what they termed police brutality meted out on them as they attempted to have the meeting last week.

The MP went missing from his Shitoto home the night before the Saturday after unidentified people, who he claimed were policemen, were spotted around his compound.

ALSO READ: Why Ruto made a U-turn on BBI

The Bukhungu meeting had elicited opposition from pro-Ruto leaders, who said it was a waste of public resources and irrelevant to the Luhya community.