How Ruto’s call won over Governors

DEPUTY President William Ruto has personally called three governors from Rift Valley and pleaded with them to drop their Pesa Mashinani referendum push.

The DP was forced to personally talk to Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi, Nandi’s Cleophas Lagat and Kericho’s Paul Chepkwony after the three initially stubbornly refused to back down.

“The DP called the three to personally request them to drop their push. He talked to them for quite some time and promised to address their issues,” said an official in Ruto’s office.

Lagat and Cheboi announced at the weekend that they had abandoned the push for more cash while Chekpkwony is expected to follow suit shortly.

Before calling the three, Ruto had dispatched elders to persuade the “rebels” to drop their their campaign because it was causing unnecessary division in the region.

“The elders told the governors that their continued support for the referendum was going to give Cord undue advantage, because many people would not know the difference between Pesa Mashinani and the Okoa Kenya push,” said another source who attended one of the meetings by elders.

Ruto is understood to have told the governors that their continued push for the Pesa Mashinani campaign had cast him in a bad light before his coalition partner TNA, the President’s party.

“The DP looked bad in the eyes of the President,” said a senator aware of the discussions.

The Chairman of the Council of Governors, Isaac Rutto, said they are willing to call off their referendum push if the government accepted their demands.

“Our agenda has been apolitical, as we stated from the onset. We are not in political competition with the national government. Once the government agrees to address our issues, we shall drop our bid. Until that is done we remain on course,” Bomet Governor Rutto told the Star on the phone.

With the Pesa Mashinani referendum push faltering, it has emerged that Cord plans to leverage the public input phase to pick three key issues for a referendum.

Experts for the Okoa Kenya push have already released for public participation five broad suggestions on which they are seeking views from Kenyans before drafting a referendum bill.

The opposition intends to focus on the constitution amendment public participation process to identify the three most pressing issues that Kenyans want taken to a referendum.

The public participation phase will take 30 days before the five-member committee retreats to consolidate the issues into a constitutional amendment bill.

Senior Cord members have told the experts of the need to consolidate the issues into two or three items for the final bill to be presented to the counties for approval.



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