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Jubilee leaders caution against referendum at expense of development

The Deputy President said he would not be drawn into the referendum debate as is desired by his opponents/DPPS

KIAMBU, Kenya, Oct 13- The calls for the change in the Constitution by some politicians may derail the development agenda of the country, Jubilee leaders have cautioned.

Led by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Gabriel Kago of Githunguri, Simon King’ara of Ruiru, Kimani Ichungwa of Kikuyu and Moses Kuria of Gatundu South, the leaders said the priority for the country is the implementation and realisation of the Big Four.

They spoke on Saturday in Githunguri Constituency in the company of the Deputy President William Ruto during the fundraising for the ACK St Stephen’s Kiambururu Church.

They said the billions of shillings the country could use in the event there was a referendum would better be used to develop the country and deliver services.

Waititu said the talk on constitutional change was affecting delivery of services.
He said leaders should use the four years to the next elections to deliver on the pledges the Jubilee Administration pledged to the people.

“We must dismiss all manner of politicking that is not of benefit to Kenyans. If we must do politics, let it be about development,” said Ichungwa.

He said the “other things you hear about referendum” are a distraction meant to slug the government’s development plans.

“We will not support that,” said the Kikuyu MP.

Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni wa Muchomba said the country was growing tired of “noises” about the review of the constitution.

It is time some leaders discarded their selfish moves for the betterment of Kenya, she noted.

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According to Governor Waititu, the proposed referendum would best serve the interests of Kenyans if the questions in it would be people-focused.

“But if it is to elevate the fortunes of some individuals hungry to be politically relevant, then just forget about it,” he said.

Waititu’s sentiments were reinforced by his deputy James Nyoro who warned President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Ruto against losing focus on their development dream of Kenya.

“…it is you (Mr Ruto) and the President who would be held to account if the country fails to develop. That is why you must be firm, and if in consultations with Kenyans, you think the review of the constitution is ill-timed, let it be put aside,” said the Kiambu Deputy Governor.

Whichever the questions put in the proposed referendum, the Gatundu South MP observed that the country neither has resources nor time to pursue it.

“We have directed our attention to development issues. But if we must have it, let it be done alongside the 2022 General Election,” he said.

Kuria said the transformation of Kenya would not be met through the amendment of the Constitution but by its leadership.

“Kenyans need to elect leaders who are focused on their issues. Referendum will not in any way make Kenya better. It is the people to do so,” he said.

The Deputy President said he would not be drawn into the referendum debate as is desired by his opponents.

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“I am not available for the referendum. I am busy consolidating the legacy of the president and the realisation of the Jubilee Manifesto. Let those pursuing it do so. My hands are full and I cannot be forced into it,” he said.

He added that those making the referendum call should tell Kenyans why they want the Constitution reviewed, the issues to change and who will benefit from the said changes.

Ruto regretted that some politicians were forcing people “into their traps” yet Kenya is a democratic country.

He said the government had allocated Sh1.5 billion for the Last Mile Project in Kiambu that would benefit at least 35,000 households.

Chief Administrative Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Rachel Shebesh said she would want UhuRuto choruses intensified, nourished and sustained as “this was a promise to the country beyond 2022”.


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