Kenya: Ruto Lauds 'Tremendous BBI Progress' but Insists on Consensus Even After Train Took Off

30 November 2020

Nairobi — Deputy President William Ruto now says that tremendous progress has been made in capturing aspirations of Kenyas in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill, but insists on consensus.

Ruto said with consensus, Kenya can avoid what he terms as a non-contested referendum.

"It is never too late to do the right thing. Tremendous progress achieved. Consensus on the remaining issues and process so as to have a non-divisive vote is the best option," Ruto tweeted in response to a newspaper headline that said he had been cornered.

Since the launch of the BBI signature collection last week, the DP has been giving indications that he will not lead a NO campaign as many of his opponents thought even as his closest allies vowed to oppose the document.

Since Wednesday when the BBI Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 was launched, Ruto has been tweeting in support of it, while highlighting what he described as major gains for the ordinary person, otherwise referred to his supporters as the hustler nation.

"Now working on consensus for Kenyans to have real choices to decide/vote while avoiding yes/no or all/nothing division," he tweeted Saturday, maintaining the need for a non-contentious referendum.

He boasted that out that his cooperation with President Uhuru Kenyatta on the need to build consensus around the document had led to great improvement to the BBI post bomas.

"I have a constitutional duty to assist my boss, the president. Now working on consensus for Kenyans to have real choices to decide/vote while avoiding yes/no or /nothing division. We avoided lose-lose we can overcome win-lose to achieve win-win," he said.

He said that the ordinary people's economics of "wheelbarrow, bodaboda, mama mboga, pastoralists/butchers" was guaranteed in the revised report.

Ruto has been the opposition voice of the BBI process, often criticizing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga of prioritising the constitutional reforms at the expense of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the amendments he wanted on the BBI report were effected, including removing the proposal to have political parties participate in the recruitment of electoral commissioners.

Ruto's change of tune signals a major boost for the BBI proponents at a time the countrywide signature collection exercise is underway setting the stage for a national referendum next year.

Kenya is set to hold national elections in 2022 and the BBI process will play a major role in the succession politics, once President Kenyatta's second and final ends.

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