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Raila Odinga, DP William Ruto clash at the Coast over law change

ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday levelled scathing criticism at one another at the Coast over the 2022 polls and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Raila addressed a crowd at Hola in Tana River County where he appeared to refer to Ruto as an opportunist ready to take credit for the Government’s success but run away from its failures. In Mombasa, Ruto criticised proponents of the BBI terming them as selfish leaders keen to award themselves plum positions with big salaries at the expense of the common man. Yesterday Raila campaigned in Hola, Tana River county on the second day of his Coast tour while Ruto wound up his campaigns in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi.

“It is ironic that the one who opposed the 2010 Constitution has turned round to say it is good for Kenyans. The BBI seeks to raise the allocation to counties from 15 per cent to 35 per cent. The current allocation mainly caters for salaries while there is no much development. Is this bad for you?,” Raila posed.

Ruto was among the leading figures that opposed the 2010 constitution. The ODM leader argued that BBI borrowed from the first national delegates conference at Bomas of Kenya that proposed the position of prime minister and his two deputies who should be MPs saying that this did not increase the burden to taxpayers as claimed by critics of the initiative.

ODM leader Raila Odinga in Hola Tana River county on July 19, 2021. [Courtesy, Standard]

Raila and his team which included Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and Mvita MP Abdulswad Nassir cautioned Kenyans against believing the DP’s agenda. He said he and President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to change the Constitution to address the challenges of tribalism and corruption and asked why some people were opposed to the amendment.

But Ruto said those pushing for a change of the Constitution should abandon it because BBI was not in the interest of Kenyans whose priority was an economic strategy to pull them out of the shackles of poverty.

 “We should forget about it and focus on building our economy. That way, we will fight the biting effects of poverty,” Ruto said.

Dr Ruto spoke yesterday in Kilifi South where he met women in small scale businesses from 35 wards in Kilifi county. He was accompanied by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Shariff Athman (Lamu East), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Feisal Bader (Msambweni),  Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.

In an early morning meeting in Mombasa County yesterday, Ruto’s presidential bid received a major boost from officials of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) led by national treasurer Sheikh Hassan Omar. The clerics promised to back Ruto’s bid. Ruto later held a meeting with small scale traders in Kilifi South. He was last evening expected to jet out of the Coast.

“You have contributed a lot to the Muslim institutions. We will support your dream God willing,” said Sheikh Hassan after the DP gave them 150 goats to share among themselves ahead of today’s Eid-Ul-Adha celebrations. Raila tore into Ruto’s economic model saying it was just talk to hoodwink Kenyans for votes. He claimed Ruto was trying to reinvent the wheel while he (Raila) and retired President Mwai Kibaki crafted the economic programme under the vision 2030 blueprint.

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