Kenya: Ruto Under Fire for Seeking to Postpone BBI Vote

3 December 2020

Nairobi — Political leaders have supporting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) have told off Deputy President William Ruto and his Tanga Tanga brigade for seeking to have the planned referendum postponed.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi said Ruto's suggestion is unrealistic and only aimed at derailing the process.

"He should be reminded that even the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) complained that voting for six positions in one election is not very desirable, it is cumbersome and complex," he said on Thursday.

Ruto held a press conference on Wednesday accompanied leaders loyal to him who questioned the urgency of holding the referendum a few months to the 2022 General Election.

The leaders said the planned referendum can be held alongside the elections, and urged the government to spend the referendum funds on "more urgent issues like the COVID-19 pandemic."

The ODM Party Chairman said that DP Ruto is confused and is not sure of his stand.

"The Deputy President needs to understand his position, it is God who has given him that position and he needs to use it responsibly. Where we are as a county, I do not think that he needs to polarize us because in his mind his objective is to become the next president," Mbadi said.

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi who spoke in Embu during the BBI signature collection drive also weighed in on the matter, saying there are only two option for the initiative.

"One cannot be a little pregnant, you are either pregnant or not," he said, in apparent reference to Ruto's indecisiveness.

And according to Mbadi, DP Ruto had disengaged himself from making his contribution to the BBI exercise since it's launch by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga.

"My view is that he has never shown any responsibility," he said.

Ruto has drawn a battle line, vowing to push further amendments in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) even as its proponents declared the train has left the station.

The BBI amendment Bill, that is a product of the March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, was unveiled last week, with the secretariat now seeking at least 1 million signatures to validate it.

Raila has declared "the train has left the station" vowing that "there is no room for further amendments."

But Ruto, who addressed a press conference alongside political leaders allied to him, said "there is no hurry to have a national referendum."

"What is the hurry, a door should not be shut for better ideas," he said, "we are happy that some of the proposals we wanted done have been done but there is still much more room for improvement of the Bill."

He said the proposed referendum should be shelved to be held alongside the General Election in 2022.

The resolution was made after the DP met with 146 Members of Parliament, seven Governors and other leaders during a meeting to deliberate on the BBI.

Ruto and his allies want funds for the referendum set aside and directed to other "urgent issued like the COVID-19 pandemic and as well as support small micro-enterprises."

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