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William Ruto opposes bid to create powerful PM and two DP positions

POLITICS
By Josphat Thiongó | September 18th 2021

Deputy President William Ruto addressing grassroots leaders from Kandara Constituency, Murang'a County, at his Karen residence, Nairobi. [DPPS]

Deputy President William Ruto has opposed a fresh bid by a parliamentary committee to expand the Executive through five new positions.

He faulted a Bill through the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) to bring back the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proposal to expand the Executive, by seeking to introduce positions of Prime Minister, two deputies and two deputy presidents.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni had earlier this week said the committee was considering a legislative proposal by the National Assembly to create the new positions.

The committee is crafting a draft Bill which among other things, seeks to dilute the office of the DP.

Kioni said his committee, through a parliamentary initiative, plans to have the changes passed through a referendum where Kenyans will vote concurrently during next year’s General Election.

But speaking at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County yesterday, Ruto hit out at Kioni and fellow like-minded leaders, urging them to stop wasting time and resources to debate issues which “have no direct impact on lives of Kenyans.”

Dr Ruto was dismayed by what he termed an attempt by the MPs to change the Constitution to create positions for few individuals at the expense of service delivery.

He urged the legislators to instead focus on other crucial bills in Parliament including the National Health Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill, aimed at achieving universal healthcare.

"MPs should stop wasting time and resources discussing change of Constitution to create positions for some few individuals. Let them prioritise issues that have direct impact on Kenyans," said Ruto.

He went on: “Where does Parliament have the time to discuss about positions yet it has many pending Bills like the one on housing and NHIF among others?”

Ruto made the remarks when he met a delegation of grassroots leaders from Bungoma County.

He was accompanied by Governor Jackson Mandago, MPs John Waluke (Sirisia), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula)and Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East).

Others were Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Caleb Kositany (Soy), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), John Njuguna (Kiambaa) and former Senator Bonny Khalwale.

The leaders challenged Kioni to introduce the Bill on the floor of the House, terming it dead on arrival.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni. [Courtesy]

Barasa accused Kioni and his team of trying to circumvent the ruling by the courts that declared BBI null and void.

"I want to tell MP Kioni that his Bill is not going anywhere. The government is bloated and no one would want to hear about creation of positions for few individuals while millions of Kenyans are suffering," he said.

MP Wanyama castigated the move, saying it was insensitive to needs of Kenyans. "It is unbelievable that Kioni doesn't feel for the people including his constituents who have been subjected to untold suffering because of high cost of living. The situation has been worsened by the latest increase in fuel prices," said Wanyama.

Kiharu legislator Nyoro said: "We will ensure the Kioni Bill is defeated by all means.

Ichungwa said the Bill was only geared towards pleasing the high and mighty. "We will not support any Bill that aims to create positions but we will support the ones that call for reduction of fuel prices or allocation of more resources to counties," he said.

The legislators assured DP Ruto of their support owing to his track record. "We will rally our people to support Dr Ruto for the presidency in 2022. This is the only leader standing with ordinary Kenyans and addressing challenges facing them," said Mabonga.

Mandago urged the august House to focus more on Bills that alleviate Kenyans' suffering.

Ruto asked Kenyans to ignore leaders propagating tribal politics to ascend to power, and instead upraise leaders based on their agenda and development track record.

"Days of tribal politics are long gone. It's time leaders present their agendas and development track record to Kenyans who will make their own decisions," said Ruto.

The DP accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of disrupting the government’s development agenda through the handshake.

Ruto said the ‘hustler movement’ was aimed at changing the country's current economic model to bottom-up approach to benefit millions of Kenyans.

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