, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – Deputy President William Ruto has dismissed claims that mismanaged elections are at the heart of constant political upheavals in the country.
Ruto who spoke at the Royal Institute of International Affairs – Chatham House – in London on Friday attributed poll chaos to the refusal by leaders who take part in election to submit themselves to the outcomes of democratic elections.
He highlighted the Jubilee Party’s acceptance to participate in a repeat poll after the nullification of the August 8 presidential election as testament to the fact that the ruling party was committed to democracy and the rule of law.
“The real problem is that we’ve people who participate in elections and they have only one outcome which is not how democrats operate. If you go to an election and you’re only expecting to win then you have a problem,” Ruto said.
“When you go to an election, the options are you win or you don’t win. The real challenge is that we’ve people who don’t believe in democracy participating in democratic elections,” the DP expounded.
On the ongoing clamour for a constitutional change, Ruto said the country will have to review its readiness to conduct a national census this year, a boundary review next year, referendum and a General Election in 2022.
He said given that the exercises require large amounts of resources in terms of budgetary allocations, the country needs to assess the need for a referendum.
“Have we reached the threshold where we say we need to take these issues to a referendum? Do we carry out a referendum alongside the next general election? That is an option,” Ruto pointed out.
“Do we have the resources to do the census this year, boundaries review next year, an election in 2022 and a referendum somewhere in between? Is that reasonable? Is that possible?” he posed.
In his address at Chatham House on Kenya’s national unity and regional integration, Ruto enumerated a number of measures towards achieving inclusion and economic growth both in the country and the region.
He noted that inter-trade between East African Community (EAC) nations had grown to twenty per cent, a remarkable rate compared to EAC peers in the continent such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) whose inter-trade rate is currently estimated at thirteen per cent.
Ruto dismissed a question on recent claims made by former Jubilee Party Vice Chairperson on his suitability for the presidency in 2022 saying: “I’ve not responded to Murathe in Kenya; I’ll not respond to him in Europe.”
He however told a Financial Times journalist who posed the question that the decision on who becomes the ruling party’s presidential candidate primarily laid with its members.
The DP said he was focused on helping President Uhuru Kenyatta’s achieve the party’s four-pillar development plan of food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and enhanced manufacturing.
Politics over the 2022 presidential election and a constitutional referendum have threatened to split the ruling party into two, even as party officials dismissed reports of divisions.
Ruto has recently called for cessation of hostilities among various political camps backing Kenyatta’s calls for an end to politicking.
His recent engagements have largely been centred on meetings with policy makers of key regional and global bodies.
He has since cut down number of countrywide visits that were largely seen as platform to popularize his 2022 presidential bid.
During his United Kingdom visit, Ruto held talks with Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State, Department of International Development, and George Hollingberry, Minister of State for Trade Policy.
Ruto also met the Eastern African Association and UK tour operators.