State backs plan to create office of the official opposition leader

Kisii Governor Simba Arati, President William Ruto

Kisii Governor Simba Arati, President William Ruto and other leaders during the inspection of the construction of Omoringamu-Nyansara Road at Nyamasege trading centre in Kisii County on Friday, August 25. 

Photo credit: Courtesy | PCS

President William Ruto on Friday August 26 said the government will back a plan to create an office of the official opposition leader, an item that is currently part of the agenda for dialogue with Raila Odinga’s Azimio coalition.

The Head of State spoke on the same day as the negotiating team slammed Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua over his comments that the Bomas talks will not yield anything. Speaking in Kisii, the President said the government wants a structured opposition to oversight the State, which he says will help deter the need to go to demonstrate each time there were disagreements on policy or initiatives.

"The office of the official opposition leader will be an office given by the government, but they will criticise the state from morning to evening. However, they will not burn property,” Dr Ruto said.

President Ruto warned against demonstrations, saying violence can no longer be condoned in the country.

“Have you seen their wives or children in the demonstrations? They take poor people’s children to the protests and put them in conflict with the police. Then we lose lives...We will stop that,” warned the Head of State.

He was speaking at Nyamasege in Bomachoge Chache constituency in Kisii County on Friday, where he inspected the Omoringamu-Nyansara road.

The President also toured Nyansiongo, Ekerenyo and Sironga in Nyamira County where he opened a market, road and an agricultural aggregation and industrial park respectively. He was hosted by Kisii Governor Simba Arati, his Nyamira counterpart Amos Nyaribo and a dozen MPs from the two counties, drawn from across the political divide.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and former Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi-led top government officials from Gusii into welcoming the President to the region. Trade CS Moses Kuria and Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro accompanied the President.

At Bomas, the National Dialogue Committee co-chaired by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah said Mr Gachagua was out of order to suggest that the talks were inconsequential and would not lead to anything.

“We have indeed discussed the utterances by the Deputy President. Everyone knows that we came here and we are in the negotiations out of utmost faith. This is a very important national exercise and every national leader should be properly guided and support it,” Mr Musyoka said.

Embu governor Cecily Mbarire, the Kenya Kwanza deputy team leader and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairperson, said the team, without mentioning Mr Gachagua, “will not hear noises from outside.”

“As Kenya Kwanza we are fully committed to these talks. We are here and we have clear instructions on what to do. We are here because there is something we want to do. Do not take anything you hear outside there very serious,” said Ms Mbarire.

The team said they had come up with a 60-day work plan and an agenda expected to be signed next week.

In Kisii, President Ruto also gave a stern warning to corrupt officials, saying that corruption must end in the country and that no one will have room to commit crimes that sabotage the economy.

“One cannot take money meant for the public and make it his, together with his wives...we are not going to compromise with anybody, whoever you are, whatever political party you belong to, whichever religion, community and county you come from,” Dr Ruto said.