Uhuru allies accuse William Ruto of rejoicing over BBI collapse

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu. He has challenged Deputy President William Ruto to explain to Mt Kenya why “he seems to have a problem with supporting anything that will benefit the region.”

Allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mt Kenya region have accused Deputy President William Ruto of rejoicing the collapse of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which they said spelt several gains for the region.

Speaking separately, the leaders said the DP only trained his guns on plans to expand the Executive, despite other gains that were contained in the BBI Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 which the court of Appeal declared unconstitutional last Friday.

Dr Ruto on Tuesday told the BBI proponents – President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga to prioritise Kenyans’ needs instead of amending the constitution.

 “I beg them to understand that it cannot continue that those of us who are leaders want to change the constitution so that we can share positions and power without good regard to the millions of young people who do not have jobs and millions who want support so that they can develop their businesses,” the DP said.

But yesterday, the President’s allies came out guns blazing, explaining how the death of the initiative will affect many livelihoods particularly in Mt Kenya region which they noted has suffered from unfair representation.

Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri challenged the DP to explain to Mt Kenya why “he seems to have a problem with supporting anything that will benefit the region.”

 “He refused to support us during the revenue sharing debate at the Senate, fought against BBI proposals to sort out the issue of resource allocation, equitable representation, consistent regional presence in national leadership offered by added executive positions and protection of endangered Mt Kenya constituencies,” Mr Ngunjiri said yesterday.

 March 2018 truce

In the collapsed Bill that emanated from the March 9, 2018 truce between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, County Governments would have an increase in their equitable share from the current 16.9 per cent to at least 35 per cent of the total revenue collected.

Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda pointed out that Mt Kenya region also suffered the biggest loss in terms of constituency allocation.

BBI proposed an additional 70 constituencies, with Mt Kenya region getting the lion’s share.

Kiambu County got the lion’s share in Mt Kenya region as it was allocated six constituencies, coming second after Nairobi which had 12, Nakuru (5), Meru (2) and Embu, Kirinyaga, Murang’a and Laikipia one each.

 “The people to lose more than any other area is Mt Kenya region and so whoever is celebrating is a sellout to the community,” Mr Kamanda said on Wednesday.

“It will be remembered in many years to come what President Uhuru Kenyatta was trying to do to the Mt Kenya region. It’s unfortunate that we cannot get more resources despite our large population,” said Mr Kamanda.

He pointed out that the Mt Kenya region lost an opportunity for equal representation and “one man, one vote, one shilling call we have been advocating for.”

Unequal representation

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, who has seemingly fallen out with DP Ruto, said the region has suffered from unequal representation and will only rally behind a presidential candidate who will promise to deliver what BBI sought to address for the sake of the people of Mt Kenya.

 “BBI which sought to address this has died but we are asking the president we shall be electing to give us an undertaking that in the first 100 days he shall address the issue of representation either through referendum or boundary review,” said Mr Kiunjuri, The Service Party (TSP) leader.

He lamented that the region has millions of votes “but this does not reflect our representation in Parliament.”

 “We have been denied seats and we must demand for that. We are not stupid for some people to take our seats and money,” he added.

Speaking after a consultative meeting with representatives of 11 political parties in Nairobi on Wednesday, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said they were seeking to forge unity and chart the best way forward for Mt Kenya region ahead of next year’s election.

"We need to continue putting our people together to ensure we speak in one voice as a region," she said.

Flanked by her Laikipia counterpart Ndiritu Muriithi and Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni, Ms Waiguru reiterated that the unity of the region will help the people in bargaining for “national resources and representation.”

On Wednesday, County Assemblies Forum (CAF) chairperson Ndegwa Wahome said the regional legislative houses had also lost in the collapse of the BBI which sought to establish a county assembly fund that would help to strengthen the operations of the county assemblies.


He said the Ward Development Fund that would comprise at least five per cent of all the county government's revenue in each financial year was vital for local development.

 “As CAF, we know that BBI had very good things for assemblies and devolution at large and MCAs and devolution were the greatest winners in the Bill but we also appreciate that there were procedural challenges in conceiving the whole idea,” Mr Wahome said.

He said CAF will explore a parliamentary route to salvage some of the amendments beneficial to the assemblies.

 “We can still get the ward development fund through parliamentary process. On the issue of county ministers coming from the assembly, already there is a Bill in Parliament by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and still parliamentary intervention would suffice to ensure that we have that reality,” added Mr Wahome.

Mr Ngunjiri also cited the Higher Education Loans Board Act that was to create a four year loan repayment moratorium for university students as well as amendment to the Micro and Small enterprises Act, 2012 which proposes to give enterprises a seven year tax break.

Political analyst Dismas Mokua argues that celebration of the collapse of the BBI Bill by Dr Ruto and his allies is likely to be counterproductive for his 2022 course.

 “That DP Ruto was doing a lap dance on the collapse of BBI will have unintended consequences. Grassroots leaders including MCA will blame him for stopping resource flows to the Wards.”

 “It is the case that Mt Kenya was going to be a beneficiary of increased constituencies therefore collapse of BBI means resources have been retained at the national level. Same logic applies to devolution funds,” Mr Mokua said.

When the rubber meets the road and voters realise that DP Ruto was dancing on the grave of BBI, he noted, they will look at him as the leader who frustrated increased resource allocation.