Dorcas Mbatia, Bridget Ondu and Robert Ochoro
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday clarified that his support for a referendum to amend the Constitution was conditional, saying such a move should have national interest at the centre.
Ruto, who spoke on the second day of his tour in Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties, warned that the referendum may divide the nation if it’s meant to benefit only a few individuals.
The call for a referendum could be a scheme by some politicians to seek power through the backdoor, he said.
He asked the Opposition to forget about the referendum on power-sharing, saying Kenyans would only support a Constitution amendment that will benefit them and not greedy individuals. “I am not against the referendum but I’m asking them to say what they want to change and why and then they give us a date,” added the DP.
“We are ready to vote even today. If they are ready let them tell us but we don’t have time to waste in referendum campaign. Our focus is development and that is what Kenyans want,” he said.
Addressing faithful at St Nicholas AIPCA church in Imenti Central during a fundraiser, Ruto added that he is aware the referendum is not only geared toward reducing the burden for Kenyans but also a scheme of self-interest by some politicians.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, who accompanied Ruto, opposed the law change calls, cautioning Kenyans that the referendum may fuel another post-election violence if they blindly accept the changes which are pushed to benefit individuals.
“They should ask me before they start making noise that we go for a referendum I am openly telling Raila Odinga and his team that they will not win on this one because we know they want to take power through backdoor,”added Kiraitu.
Ruto spoke even as Kisii County Woman Rep Janet Ong’era lauded the DP’s stance on a referendum, saying it is long overdue.
She said the clamour for a plebiscite by the former prime Minister will help the country change clauses in the Constitution and enhance a level playing ground during elections.
Speaking at her officer yesterday after disbursing Sh15 million to 51 Groups National Government Affirmative Action Funds, Ong’era said it is necessary to have just electoral laws to curb rigging and conflicts after presidential elections.
Elsewhere in Mombasa, Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council (KEMNAC) chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao opposed the move, saying the timing for referendum is wrong.
“Our current economic situation cannot allow us have a referendum. Have they forgotten we had two elections in one year? Then we move right into a referendum to spend more billions? It is unfair to the taxpayers,” said Ngao.