Deputy President William Ruto today put a strong case for his position on the Building Bridges Initiative report as it was launched at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, today.
Later in his in speech he would heckled by section of the delegations with some shouting “Respect the President.”
He said the real elephant in the room was the post-polls winner-takes-it-all mentality which the BBI was trying to address by creating the position of the Prime Minister and two deputies but wondered how that would take care of other big political heavyweights who would still find themselves without political offices.
The questions is: “Have we sorted out the winner-takes-it-all question,” he asked adding that “we must have a candid discussion on millions of youth locked by poverty.”
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Ruto set off by hoping that ODM leader had not referred to him as a member of the bourgeoisie (a class of citizens that is wealthier than rest) before criticising the media for (mis)reporting that ODM leader Odinga had declared that he would run for president in 2020 and also that he (Ruto) would face his demons at the launch of the report at Bomas.
“I agree with Raila we sometimes have a mischievous media,” said Ruto.
He said the BBI ought to be about bringing views together and no idea was superior to another which was a civic duty and that the punishment of not participating in the affairs of the nation was being ruled by fools.
He said even with interventions such as loans and tax holidays recommended in the BBI, the root cause of poverty among the youth was unemployment which was why agriculture had to be central in the report with certain interventions such Guaranteed Minimum Returns (GMR) for farmers being put in place.
On the BBI recommendation that the Ombudsman of the Judiciary should be nominated by the President, Ruto said that would reduce the independence of the court system and called for more budgetary allocations to the judiciary saying five counties didn’t have High Courts.
The DP was opposed to the idea of political nominating commissioners to IEBC wondering how participating football teams could choose impartial referees.
“I have my reservations,” he said.
On BBI’s recommendation of increasing budgetary allocations to the counties to 35 per cent of the national budget, Ruto said he had no problems with it as long as the Senate was made the upper house with more powers to oversee the usage of the funds.
He opposed the downgrading of the Senate while at the same time having more women sitting thereafter reducing their numbers in the National Assembly where they had more say in resource allocation.