Kenya: Bomas Crowd Becomes Hostile to DP Ruto

26 October 2020

A section of the crowd attending the official launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report on Monday reacted with hostility while Deputy President William Ruto gave his views on the document.

While addressing them at Bomas of Kenya, Dr Ruto broke down, in detail, the proposals he was opposed to and why.

Attendees, however, could be heard reacting sharply to some of his remarks with chants to "respect the president", while some of his points attracted muted cheers.

"Let me say, on the matter of IEBC, the recommendations I have read say that political parties participate in the appointment of commissioners to IEBC...how fair will a league be where the referee is appointed by teams? How fair will this league be," he wondered.

To this, the crowd reacted with lots of chatter, but the DP was undeterred.

"If you tell me it is ok for some, and not all teams participating, to appoint the referee, I have my reservations that that is fair."

He also questioned the independence of the police force under new proposals as outlined in the BBI.

"The 2010 Constitution was very clear that police must act independently of any politician. To recommend that we will have a police council chaired by a CS (cabinet secretary) is a derogation of the independence of the police," he cautioned.

"Today, you may have the latitude to do what you think will be right as per you. Tomorrow the shoe will be on the other leg," he added, to which a section of the crowd began to jeer him.

The crowd, however, cheered when he noted that the Senate should not be downgraded and instead should be promoted to the upper House.

While discussing the youth and employment, he responded to a point made by a previous young speaker who was against '16th century tools' such as wheelbarrows and carts (mkokoteni).

"I'm sure he (the speaker) was referring to the wheelbarrow, and possibly he was referring to me...how come in the 21st century, millions of citizens are still dependent on the wheelbarrows and mkokoteni? That is a discussion that involves millions of Kenyans," he said.

It is at this point that the crowd became unruly, and the DP had to calm the attendees down so he could finish.

He then invited President Uhuru Kenyatta to address them, at which point the crowd was chanting "please respect the president".

While Mr Kenyatta spoke, the crowd at Bomas collectively sang to wish him a happy birthday.

Thereafter, the president and his deputy shared a light moment after pointing out Dr Ruto's ambitions, while also urging him to slow down.

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