, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto has said he respects the decision by fellow Governors to withdraw from the referendum bid driven by the council.
Ruto however said the TNA Governors did not make the decision to pull-out from the ‘pesa mashinani’ referendum campaign out of their own volition but were clearly bowing down to pressure from their principals even though they wouldn’t admit it.
“We respect the decision made by the Governors who made their decision known yesterday (Wednesday) on their retreat, because they are entitled to assess their own situation and make a choice.”
While declaring his stand on Wednesday after a meeting bringing together Governors, Members of Parliament, MCAs caucus and party officials from TNA, Kiambu Governor William Kabogo said his decision to pull out was because there were other avenues to be explored as the referendum option was already taking a political position.
He also stated: “I have taken a position because my President has said no, who am I to say yes when my President has said no.”
Ruto further dismissed reports that 10 more Governors mostly drawn from the United Republican Party (URP) had retracted from the saying it was all propaganda.
“Yesterday it was flashed in the news that URP Governors have also withdrawn, which is a lie, because no URP Governor was involved in those things.”
The Bomet Governor nevertheless reaffirmed that the campaign would go on, with the remainder of the Governors supporting the cause which is meant to increase funding in the counties, place Governors in charge of security at the county and strengthen the role of the Senate in order to protect devolution among others.
The technical committee tasked with the role of initiating the referendum questions and formulating a bill had already commenced the process prior to collection of the one million signatures.
On Sunday, the Governors had reached out to the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) by wooing them with promises of more money by promising to make proposals to guarantee MCAs the same rights as Members of Parliament who enjoy a host of privileges including car loans, home mortgages among other benefits.
The Council of Governors is now expected to make an official briefing on the way forward since some of the members who withdrew were not only members of the Governing Council but also very vocal on the ‘pesa mashinani ‘ bid.