Deputy President William Ruto, Bomet governor Isaac Ruto clash over referendum


Narok, Kenya: There was drama as Deputy President, William Ruto and Bomet County governor,Isaac Ruto clashed publicly over the raging clamour for constitutional referendum on devolution.

The duo who shared a podium at Emurua Dikirr primary school in Narok County at the weekend during the homecoming party of Emurua Dikirr constituency MP, Johana Ngeno sharply differed on the referendumissue.

The deputy president who led more than 15 MPs allied to the Jubilee coalition launched scathing attack on the proponents of the push for referendum saying Kenyans were not ready to be subjected to another political campaign when they were yet to settle after the recent general election.

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Isaac who appeared angered by the comments made by the  Jubilee legislators in attendance said nothing would stop him from his push for the referendum and that he was ready for any eventuality including threats to eject him  from the coalition.

He downplayed the accusations levelled against him that he was being used by the Cord coalition to undermine the government noting that his agenda was clear and void of any political hand.

“Mine is simple and clear on devolution and I must not kneel down to anyone to demonstrate my point. The central government should be honest and stop taking us in circles on what is clear to every Kenyan. Nothing will stop us from asking for the 40% revenue for the County governments,” said Ruto.

Disrupting devolution

He said having realized the laxity and non commitment by the central government to implement devolution as required, governors have set up a plan of collecting 1 million signatures in readiness for areferendum.

Ruto who is also the chairman of summit of governors said he was in Jubilee to stay but would not keep mum on whoever shows intention of disrupting devolution.

“To start moving around the country and branding others traitors when they ask for more resources to be devolved was an archaic way of thinking and mere hoodwinking of Kenyans,” noted Isaac.

He said as governors they wanted to have a strong senate which can effectively play the oversight role on the operation of county governments and accused the national assembly of trying to hijack the process from the upper house.

The summit chairman said it was primitive for a section of jubilee politicians to attack him for meeting former Prime Minister Raila Odinga recently in Mombasa saying he had liberty to engage with all the leaders in constructive engagement.

However, the deputy president who spoke emotionally dismissed the call for referendum saying it was ill-timed and with ulterior motive.

“Before telling Kenyans to prepare for referendum and launching political campaigns, the governors should show how they will utilize the Sh210 billion before saying the funds were not sufficient. What we are saying as the central government is that if it will prove that the funds are not sufficient, we shall increase the allocation in the next financial year,” said Ruto.

He said there were other better avenues of increasing funds to the counties other than turning Kenyans into voting machines adding resources which could be used to conduct such referendum can be utilized in other developmental projects.

“We have learnt that this referendum issue is being fronted by our competitors at the time the ICC cases are set to enter the next stage. This is a tactic to ensure that there was confusion in the country while we are away in The Hague hence making the country ungovernable,” said the Deputy President.

Speaking in his Kalenjin dialect, Ruto pleaded to the local residents to oppose the planned referendumsaying it was a big risk and a political suicide to the community noting they might be locked out of the government.

“My people, are you aware of the dangers of going to areferendum at this time? Let me tell you that as a community, we are in the government where our interests are fully catered for and supporting the referendum is like turning the gun against our heads,” posed

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