By Eunice Kayo and Mourice Seretta
Deputy President William Ruto has waded into the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) debate on how much it will cost to hold a referendum drive if the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report that was recently released to the public goes to a vote.
Speaking at General Kago stadium in Kangema, Murang’a county on Friday where he had gone for an empowerment programme for the boda boda operators, the Deputy President lashed out at Opposition Chief Raila Odinga asking him to leave the electoral body out of political debates.
“Leave IEBC alone because even the previous referendum cost us about Sh10 billion with 12 million voters. How do you then expect to spend Sh2 billion on a referendum with 19 million voters? This cannot happen! Kwa hivyo mtu wa kitendawili awache kutuhadaa. He is not a professional in election matters and with his brigade they should not bring disrespect to the constitution.” Ruto said.
Ruto added that politicians needs to keep off IEBC matters and that even if Raila’s brother, Oburu Odinga, was to be chair of the electoral boby, Kenyans will be the ones to decide who their president will be.
“Whoever the chairman will be it will not matter and this they should take it to the bank,” Ruto said.
On his countrywide tours where he has been empowering the youth especially in the boda boda sector, Ruto said he was happy that his hustler movement that many a politician have been against has eventually sparked national debate.
“It is my joy that through this movement we are going to change the narrative. It has always been the rich against the poor where they want to create positions for themselves but going forward we must bring boda boda, wheelbarrow and mkokoteni in that debate,” he said.
On BBI, the second in command said youth empowerment and ordinary citizens must be considered and not just expanding the executive to suit a few politicians.
“Those speaking ill about me let them be reminded that I know what I am doing…I am not a fool or a drunkard, the BBI debate must go hand in hand with our big four agenda. Through the BBI debate, all leaders must strive to sit and build a consensus and find a referendum that will not necessarily have a yes or no campaign,” he explained.
“Some people want to bring hatred in the whole debate, if they want politics they should wait for 2022 and of course they should be well prepared. I believe as leaders it is possible for all of us to agree on a consensus that will bring all together, we can all be winners if we agree to sit together.” He further quipped.
Ruto has since said he is willing to sit down with BBI top proponents President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odina and dialogue on BBI to ensure that the process does not split the country down the middle after meeting with some elders at his Karen office.