Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday responded to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s remarks during the State of the Nation address hinting at the return of the flopped Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), saying the initiative to amend the constitution was not a priority. Speaking in Makueni county where he’s currently on a two-day tour, the DP poured cold water on the joint Uhuru-Raila initiative, describing it as creating positions for a select few.
“I told them Kenyans are not ready to change the Constitution for the sake of adding powers to the Presidency and creating more positions in the Executive. Changing the Constitution will have to wait until we improve on our economy,” said Ruto, who has been a fierce critic of BBI.
“Even if we were confused at whatever level, what is the priority for this country? Is it creating positions for leaders or creating income opportunities for the ordinary people?” asked the DP, who was addressing UDA enthusiasts in Makueni yesterday.
During his eighth Annual State of The Nation Address to the Joint Parliamentary Sitting, President Kenyatta on Tuesday defended his move of pushing for the BBI and explained that political stabilization is a continuous process every administration must apply their minds to.
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“The need for political stabilisation is the most urgent task facing Kenya today, and it is the foundation upon, which our greater justice, fairness, health, wealth, and security will be built on. For that reason, it shall happen,” he said.
The BBI process was nullified by the High Court in a ruling that was later upheld by the Appeals court before its proponents moved to the Supreme Court where the matter is still pending.
Kenyatta also reiterated his stance that Kenya is staring at a constitutional moment as he explained that political stabilization doctrine is what guided his March 2018 handshake with Odinga
“Our country has been in a constitutional moment since the 2017 election. The only question is what we should do with that constitutional moment. If we do not embrace it, how will it return to punish our nation? And if we embrace it, who are the winners and losers of that moment? That is the National Question before us today,” he posed.
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The Head of State regretted that by declaring the government-backed Bill was illegal and unconstitutional, the courts had denied over 5 million registered voters an avenue that will end the winner-take-all structure of Kenyan politics, which is often followed by deadly violence.
“The people spoke regarding the First Amendment…the Record of Parliament attests to the fact that the people wanted constitutional change, but a few individuals sat in a backroom somewhere and they decided otherwise,” the Head of State said.