DP Ruto steers clear of BBI as criticism mounts in Kakamega

Deputy President William Ruto at Wanga Technical and Vocational College in Mumias, Kakamega County, during its commissioning on October 25, 2019. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • During the DP's tour of Mumias East on Friday, his political allies said they will ensure the report is shot down if the portion of funds allocated to counties is not increased.
  • They noted the need for the report to address inclusivity and equitable distribution of national resources.
  • DP Ruto steered clear of the BBI subject, focusing instead on the importance of technical education, in line with the government’s industrialisation agenda.

Western region politicians who are allied to Deputy President William Ruto have pledged to rally their supporters to reject the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) if the report does not address issues affecting ordinary Kenyans.

During the DP's tour of Mumias East constituency in Kakamega County on Friday, they said they will ensure the report is shot down if the portion of funds allocated to counties is not increased.

Among the politicians were MPs Benjamin Washiali, John Waluke (Sirisia), Enock Kibunguchy (Likutani), Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South) and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.

They noted the need for the report to address inclusivity and equitable distribution of national resources.

The report by the BBI task force is ready for handing over to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, who on March 9, 2018 announced that they had agreed to bury the hatchet and work together for the sake of unity, development, national healing and reconciliation as well as development.

PRESIDENT

Mr Washiali said it would be unacceptable for Parliament to nominate the President as the public is accustomed to electing one.

He added, "The BBI report is still a rumour because it is yet to be presented to the President and the ODM leader, but the rumours indicate the initiative seeks for MPs to nominate the President. We will not accept this and Kenyans will reject the initiative."

Dr Khalwale said majority of Kenyans do not understand the origins of the BBI idea came up and that it is being imposed on them.

He promised to lead a national campaign to sensitise the public on the initiative once the report is released.

“We will support the initiative to the end because it has cost the country over Sh10 billion. We shall read the report at market places and define it to Kenyans so that everyone understands the contents."

However, the politician also said he will lead an onslaught against the report should it propose to expand the Executive by creating more offices.

SPECIAL POSTS

Mr Waluke said BBI is the brainchild of an individual who wants to remain relevant in politics after wasting his last shot in the 2017 general election

This person, he said, wants to reserve a position for himself in the government that will take over after the 2022 vote.

Mr Waluke and his Teso South counterpart claimed that the DP's lieutenants were ready to resist proposals for creation of the position of a strong prime minister and deputies as well as a ceremonial President.

“We shall not allow one person to take the country round in circles after every election period to make himself remain relevant," Mr Waluke said.

"It is high time he accepted that he has run out of his time and let others occupy the space," he also said, adding that the agreement for the next government was reached in 2013 through a memorandum between President Kenyatta and DP Ruto.

“The next government is already in place. We don’t want guests of President Kenyatta to mess with the formation of the 20-year rule of the Jubilee administration,” Mr Waluke said.

Mr Omuse said even though he was elected in 2017 on an ODM party ticket, his support for Ruto’s 2022 presidency bid is unwavering.

PROJECTS

DP Ruto, who commissioned Wanga Technical and Vocational College in Mumias East, steered clear of the BBI subject, focusing instead on the importance of technical education, in line with the government’s industrialisation agenda.

He said the government has constructed 150 institutes across the country to equip youths with skills required in the competitive job market.

The Deputy President noted that Kenya has lagged behind in the industrial revolution because past governments did not prioritise technical education, creating the impression that polytechnics are the "dumping sites" for examination failures.

“In 2013 when we came to power, we agreed to address the challenges Kenyans face. We are moving forward with roads, electricity connection and promotion of technical education to make Kenya an industrial State."

He added that the country requires plumbers, technologists, carpenters, electricians and others to promote the Big Four agenda on food security, manufacturing, Universal Health Coverage and affordable housing.

“The Big Four will generate jobs to keep young Kenyans engaged and financially empowered,” he said.

MUMIAS SUGAR

On Mumias Sugar Company, Dr Ruto said there had been no returns on the government's huge investment.

Thee government allocated more than Sh3.7 billion into the miller but it was mismanaged by its managers, he said.

The DP said because privately-owned millers are thriving, the government decided to get Mumias into the same plan.

“We agreed as a government to partner with Kakamega to pump life back into Mumias. We are ready to release the 20 percent shareholding to the county so it can join hands with other stakeholders in finding a lasting solution [to Mumias' woes]."

Dr Ruto noted that the government is committed to working with Kakamega and farmers in the Mumias around in order to turn it around.

“We were looking for a turnaround plan but as it is said, you cannot do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. That is why we have a receiver manager in place to help us jumpstart Mumias,” he said.

The DP further emphasised diversification and asked county governments to promote the venture. He noted that in Uasin Gishu County, farmers plant maize, macadamia and avocado, for home use and as income earners.

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