NYERI, Kenya Oct 31 – Deputy president William Ruto has accused some political operatives in the county of seeking a referendum on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitution review report without consensus in order to profit from poll-related procurement.
Ruto who spoke during the launch of the Mathira Technical and Vocational College Driving School for Boda Boda riders where he presented of a bus for use by 52 soccer clubs in Mathira, said unnamed officials were planning to siphon public funds through election tendering.
“I want to tell Kenyans that they are some elements who want a contested referendum so that they can steal public funds. I want them to know that Kenyans can agree on this document through consensus and we do not need a referendum that will cost billions,” said Ruto.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has projected the cost for the BBI referendum at Sh13.7 billion.
The poll agency dismissed assertions by ODM leader Raila Odinga that the plebiscite will only cost Sh2 billion.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati cited the 2010 referendum where the commission used Sh10 billion, a fact he said Odinga had “conveniently forgotten”.
“This happened under Raila’s watch when he was the Prime Minister. The cost per voter then was Sh794. At the time, these figures never attracted offensive statements from Odinga. It is disingenuous for him to cast such aspersion without seeking clarifications from the Commission,” Chebukati said in a statement issued in response to Odinga’s claims on October 29.
He said the estimates factored in “all major cost drivers such as technology, ballot papers, temporary poll officials and security, among others”.
During his Mathira meeting, Ruto said Kenyans should be wary of individuals seeking to profit financially from national initiatives such as the BBI whose report was formally unveiled on October 26.
Ruto insisted that he was not opposed to the document but wanted an inclusive debate on key issues he outlined at the Bomas of Kenya when the report was unveiled.
“As a leader we do not want to sacrifice aspirations of Kenyans on the altar of leaders sharing posts. Instead we want a document which encompasses all issues related to the common mwananchi which must be included through a consensus,” said Ruto.
He urged those in the forefront seeking the adoption of the BBI report without a further review not chest thump but ensure Kenyans are involved through consensus so that the document doesn’t divide the nation.
He told opposition leader Raila Odinga to respect views of Kenyans.
“I want to urge Ondinga to stop chest thumping that this document must be adopted by Kenyans and instead seek consensus as advised by the president,” said Ruto.
Ruto was accompanied by dozens of central region leaders including host lawmaker Rigathi Gachagua, Gatundu South’s Moses Kuria, Kandara’s Alice Wahome and Kiharu’s Ndindi Nyoro.
Leaders present said that the document has flaws and must be relooked to ensure inclusivity by all.
Women leaders present at the function with the configuration of the Senate where 47 women Senators representing counties alongside their male counterparts are expected top sit with the proposed abolishment of Women Representative posts.