24 August 2014

Kenya: Ruto Reaffirms Allegiance to Jubilee but Insists On Referendum

Nairobi — - Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto on Sunday reaffirmed his allegiance to the Jubilee coalition despite his push for a referendum to secure more funds for the counties.

Speaking in the company of Deputy President William Ruto in his county Bomet, Ruto said the fact that both he and the opposition are calling for a referendum didn't mean they were in cahoots with one another.

Ruto said his calls for a referendum should not be seen as dissatisfaction with the ruling coalition but as a public service, "I have no differences with the Deputy President," he said.

He was responding to a section of Members of his County Assembly who said they would not be used either by governors or the opposition to push for a referendum.

And as the Governor again accused the Raila Odinga-led opposition of attempting to hijack the governors noble cause with their own agenda, he did not reverse his stand on the need for a referendum.

His declaration of loyalty to the ruling coalition also follows the abandonment, by a number of Jubilee governors, of the Pesa Mashinani (money to the grassroots) referendum drive.

They argued that while the counties needed more cash, there were other avenues to attain that objective and a referendum should be a last resort.

They also argued that the leader of the coalition, President Uhuru Kenyatta, had already taken a stand against a referendum and they were not going to challenge it.

"My president has said no, who am I to say yes when my president has said no?" Kiambu Governor William Kabogo posed on Wednesday.

On Thursday Ruto however said that the governors were free to back out of the referendum but were clearly bowing down to pressure from President Kenyatta and the Deputy President.

"We respect the decision made by the Governors who made their decision known yesterday (Wednesday) on their retreat, because they are entitled to assess their own situation and make a choice," he said.

The opposition also discounted the pull out of the governors arguing that they did not speak for the electorate, "It is for Kenyans to decide whether they want to amend this Constitution... Governors who are pulling out are pulling out as individuals," Odinga said on Friday.


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