By Joachim Bwana for Std
Deputy President William Ruto is undermining President Uhuru Kenyatta by advancing his presidential ambition, a senator has claimed.
“By his own conduct, he (Ruto) is making the President a lame duck,” Siaya Senator James Orengo said. He claimed the DP was also undermining national unity and was pursing “his own agenda” within Government and national politics.
The Senate Minority leader claimed that through his conduct in recent months, Ruto was obsessed with personal goals and did not care about the Big Four agenda. Orengo also suggested that Ruto’s recent support for a referendum was a gimmick that lacked ideological convictions.
And Orengo alleged that Ruto’s conduct betrays a split in the Jubilee Party tied around the DP’s ambition against Uhuru’s programmes including the Big Four Agenda.
Orengo’s statement is bound to ignite reaction from Ruto’s allies who have opposed the president’s call for a lifestyle audit to combat graft and the March 9 handshake between Uhuru and NASA leader Raila Odinga.
Last week Ruto claimed the handshake was being exploited to expel him from Jubilee and neuter his presidential ambition. Until last week Ruto opposed any form of constitutional review through a referendum claiming Raila was raising this matter to advance his own ambitions. On Friday he announced conditional support for the referendum by suggesting any changes should not benefit the opposition leaders.
He said that Jubilee should sort out the issue so that their project of building bridges can effectively work because the effort is being undermined from within. The senator said that Ruto stands higher chances of inheriting the presidency by helping president Uhuru Kenyatta achieve his big four agenda and uniting the nation. “In a lot of democracies, the deputy president stands a high chance of inheriting the higher office through the incumbent by supporting the legacy of the incumbent and not necessarily running around with his own agenda,” said Orengo.
He said that Ruto was only interested in the conversation about 2022 presidential elections whereas Uhuru wants to talk about his legacy. The senator said that Ruto only wants the debate to be how Jubilee will win come 2022 hence frustrating any efforts of the goals of the handshake.
He said that Kenyans need to roll up their sleeve and discuss the issue of the referendum that he said is inevitable. Orengo said that Ruto is not sincere in his support for the referendum because he has given conditions and declared reform must not result in creation of any new offices.
“If that is his worry, he should look at the Okoa document and the senate’s document under the chairmanship of senator Murkomen, It is nothing to do with positions but making the system work better,” said Orengo.
He said that abolition of the senate was a legitimate concern that should be put as one of the referendum questions. Orengo said if you have a devolution system, then the concept of a bi-cameral system cannot be run away from. He said that the effort to make devolution work is streneous because certain forces and interest groups are used to a central government and its benefits. He said that the government is always prepared for the aspects of referendums, by-elections.
“One of the greatest innovations in our constitution is public participation and people participate through a referendum. In the old days you could amend the constitution any day. He said that the issue of referendum dates back to three years ago and a lot of work has been done in regards to the proposed new referendum. He said that NASA had come with a bill that was frustrated by the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission IEBC. The senator said among the issues they discussed was the issue of the Electoral Justice, Security, emasculating the Counties appointment of state officers and ambassadors and allocation of resources to the counties “NASA had even come out with the Okoa Kenya campaign in which we tabled a bill in parliament but was frustrated by IEBC so this is not a new issue and Kenyans should support the debate for a better constitution,” said Orengo.
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