NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 16 – Deputy President William Ruto was on Monday treated to a rare spectacle in Narok as leaders exchanged harsh words over the national referendum championed by Governors and the Opposition.
The storm was kicked off by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale who told off Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto who is rallying fellow Governors to support a referendum for increased funding to counties.
Trouble started when Duale accused Ruto of failing to account for Sh184 million allocated to his county, before the Bomet Governor stood up and tried to leave prompting other leaders to intervene.
“These funds belong to Kenyans and not to your mother,” Duale said as Governor Ruto gathered his belongings and attempted to approach him.
It took the intervention of Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai, County Commissioner Farah Kassim Farah, and officers from the Deputy President’s security detail to persuade an agitated Ruto to resume his seat.
“You can run around the country; you can call for referendum but one day you will appear before the Senate. Isaac Ruto, you must appear before the Senate,” said a charged Duale.
When he took to the podium, the Bomet Governor accused Duale and other national government leaders of misleading the public on the referendum issues, instead of addressing facts.
“Some of you MPs who live comfortably in Nairobi have been coming around and telling us to wait until 2017, but the citizens at the counties are facing a lot of challenges,” said Governor Ruto.
The Deputy President who addressed the public after the exchange between Duale and the Bomet Governor warned leaders against misleading Kenyans, saying the proposed referendum is not in the interest of the public.
“We are aware that the call for referendum is ploy by those who want to achieve political relevance after being defeated in the last general election,” he said.
Ruto stated there were so many other avenues to address issues affecting Kenyans instead of resorting to the referendum drive that threatens to divide the country.
Ruto said the government was committed to rid the country of inequalities in the access of opportunities to all Kenyans citing an extra Sh10 billion that has been added to secondary schools education and the scrapping of national examination fees.
The leaders were speaking at Maasai Mara University in Narok County to mark the 3rd Mara Day celebrations under the theme ”Mara forever, Mara milele”.
The Mara Day celebrations are aimed at increasing visibility of the region, its natural resources and the impact the Mara ecosystem has on the livelihoods and economies of the East African Community.