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DP said, “Odinga does not understand how it feels to be poor since he was born in riches.”/FILE/DPPS

BBI

Handshake politics suffocating the Big 4 Agenda: DP Ruto

NAIROBI, Kenya August 28 – Deputy President William Ruto on Thursday said politics surrounding the famous March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has derailed the government’s Big Four Agenda.

Ruto who spoke to Citizen Television as the country marked a decade since the enactment of the new constitution said much of government’s development agenda, including four flagship projects under the Big Four, had stalled due to what he termed negative energy accumulated as a result of handshake politics.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga sealed a unity deal on March 9, 2018 ending acrimony following two presidential elections in 2017 disputed by former Prime Minister who accused Kenyatta of stealing the vote.

The truce also birthed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) under which the two leaders are now championing for a constitutional amendment.

“Handshake introduced a different dynamic to the whole operation of government and management of issues, it brought a lot of politics which charged the environment, created negative energy which create diversionary issues around we were focused on achieving,” he said.

The DP said that during its second term, the Jubilee administration had been forced to manage the handshake “which took a lot of our time, energy and resources,” adding that the coronavirus pandemic has also slowed down what the government intended to achieve.

“What we wanted to do in the second term would have built on what we had achieved in the first term. We have made progress but not the much we wanted,” he added.

Ruto singled out the affordable housing project, manufacturing program and the  Universal Health Coverage (UHC) among the programs which are yet to gain pace.

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“The Housing project was supposed to create two million jobs, the manufacturing program was supposed to go to the value addition stage and UHC was supposed to get many people out of poverty,” the Deputy President said.

Infrastructure, electricity and education are among programs the DP said the government had recorded phenomenal progress during the first term.

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