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Ruto: Let us now set our priorities right

POLITICS
By Jacob Ngetich | August 22nd 2021
Deputy President William Ruto. [Courtesy, DPPS]

Emboldened by the Court of Appeal verdict declaring the push to amend the Constitution null and void, Deputy President William Ruto has rolled out an elaborate agenda and seeks to take advantage of the judgement.

Ruto had registered his opposition to the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) Bill, which was being championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

And after the seven-judge Bench's decision, he has added a new spring to his steps.

In a press conference at his Karen residence yesterday, the DP stopped short of telling his boss that he had wasted three years on a political process he termed "controversial".

"This marks the second time that our courts have pronounced themselves on this matter. On both occasions, our courts were bold, clear and unmistakable. Without any doubt, the court brought the voice of Wanjiku to life, and called on us to move on to the most pressing needs of our citizens and the nation," Ruto said.

The DP noted that no one had won or lost. "It is a win-win for the people and the Constitution: The people have won, the Constitution has won and the rule of law has prevailed," he said.

He lauded the "courage" of the judges who have bravely defended the Constitution.

"God bless you. This is, therefore, a moment of reflection and appreciation. We thank the Almighty God for giving us this unique day to celebrate our progress as a people, and as a nation. We celebrate our institutions, which have come of age, foremost our Judiciary," said the DP.

He said the priority should now be the rolling out of a vaccination programme to cover the entire population, revival of the Big Four agenda and dealing with youth unemployment.

Ruto insisted on mobilising MPs to pass critical items of the Big Four agenda to give more life to President Kenyatta's legacy projects.

He said the country must urgently retrace the path to Big Four agenda, which packaged a comprehensive raft of policy interventions, programmes and projects aimed at creating millions of jobs.

They include rejuvenating agriculture for food security, improving manufacturing, securing the health of millions of Kenyans through Universal Health Care and affordable housing.

"I have held discussions with legislators and we have agreed to fast-track the long-delayed amendments to the NHIF Act to unlock the dream of achieving Universal Health Coverage," he said.

Ruto said he also agreed with the MPs on reintroducing amendments to the Housing Act to establish the framework for actualisation of the Housing Fund, a prerequisite for unlocking the housing project.

"This will set the stage for achievement of the Housing pillar of the Big Four agenda. The housing plan’s twofold promise of making affordable houses available and creating millions of jobs for young Kenyans is the sort of intervention this country needs now," he said.

He also hinted at working with Parliament in its full bipartisan strength to facilitate mobilisation of resources to radically transform agricultural production.

This, he said, would enable Kenyans to achieve food security and nutrition self-sufficiency and create a surplus for diversified agro-processing and manufacturing under the industrialisation plan.

"We must finally rise to the challenge of moving over 2.5 million families from nutrition poverty and perennial dependency on food relief.

"We must make up for all the time lost, resources spent and opportunities foregone in the knowledge that time is of the essence. For truly, it is never too late to do the right thing," Ruto said.

He took a jibe at Uhuru's effort to bring together a united opposition against him, urging them to instead choose the welfare of all people, not just leaders.

The DP said the country's vision was focused on success through enterprise, "not opportunistic coalitions to rig the system against the people".

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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