Team Ruto Against Referendum

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Tangatanga MP's Take BBI Battle to Raila's Bondo backyard

Mt Kenya lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto have once again refused calls for a referendum days after release of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report. The leaders argue that Parliament and other institutions can make constitutional amendments recommended by the report.

Speaking at a function at Magina in Lari constituency where the DP was chief guest, MPs Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Alice Wahome (Kandara), Kimani Ichung'wa (Kikuyu), Kwenya Thuku (Kinangop), Jonah Mburu (Lari) and Jude Njomo (Kiambu) said they would oppose any move to have the country go through a referendum.

Njomo said there was no point of subjecting Kenyans to a referendum and it would be expensive for the country and there is a possibility of campaigns dividing Kenyans. Wahome said leaders would boycott any future Bomas meeting.

Former Tigania East MP Mathew Adams Karauri said holding a referendum on BBI was important to ensure the spirit of the document was not watered down.

Mr Karauri said in a statement that the Parliament is likely to move many amendments and change the proposed laws several times over that we may not finally recognize what was in the original document.

In Siaya, some leaders allied to the DP called for national dialogue to cool rising political temperatures over the report. MPs allied to Jubilee's Tangatanga wing visited Bondo and Ugenya constituencies where they helped raise money for two churches.

The team led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruyiot and Belgut MP Nelson Koech insisted the BBI report must go through Parliament instead of a referendum.

The leaders were accompanied by Jubilee's Kibra parliamentary by-election loser MacDonald Mariga and Dr Ruto's top aide Farouk Kibet.

While Mr Murkomen, Mr Mariga and Mr Kibet pitched camp at St Andrew's Catholic Church in Bondo, Mr Cheruiyot and Mr Koech joined Ugenya MP David Ochieng' and his Bondo counterpart Gideon Ochanda at the Yogo Catholic Church in Ugenya.

Speaking at Uriri in Migori County, national Assembly speaker Justin Muturi said the report must only be implemented as per the will of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga. Muturi said the BBI report must be implemented through a referendum.

In Bondo, Murkomen said he was ready to sit down with Raila to discuss the report. The Elgeyo Marakwet Senator said the country was facing hard economic times, which will be made worse if Kenyans are subjected to an expensive referendum.

Murkomen, who added that he fully supports the peace deal between Uhuru and Raila, urged leaders to work together in the spirit of the handshake.

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Author

Timothy Omondi