In Summary
  • Most of the governors present backed the referendum call. Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho told off MPs calling for a parliamentary process.
  • But Mr Ngunjiri said they are ready to pass the report in Parliament, arguing it was not necessary to subject it to a costly and divisive referendum.

The differences between politicians allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on one hand, and those supporting Deputy President William Ruto over the Building Bridges Initiative report played out openly during two separate public events Friday.

At the two functions, one in Kirinyaga and the other in Narok, the opposing sides clashed openly, with leaders allied to the President and Mr Odinga pushing for the report to be subjected to a referendum while Dr Ruto’s camp maintained it should be taken to Parliament for debate and adoption or rejection.

At the Narok function, presided over by the DP, his allies maintained only Parliament could make a determination on the report, flatly rejecting any proposals that it be subjected to a referendum.

Dr Ruto appeared to take a middle ground, stating that the report should be subjected to a referendum, but only “if necessary”.

Addressing Ewaso Ng’iro residents, Dr Ruto said: “And, if necessary, the people will implement the sections of the report through a referendum if there is a need for such a move … let us not threaten one another.”

HOUSE ROUTE

He cautioned against an us-versus-them kind of debate, asking leaders to shun divisive politics.

He further cautioned leaders against issuing threats over the BBI report, terming bravado, intimidation and blackmail as unnecessary.

“Many institutions will participate in actualising what Kenyans said in the BBI report. We must show fidelity to the rule of law. If we don’t respect the law, then we are headed in the wrong direction,” the DP said.

But in Kirinyaga County, at a fundraiser at Gathuthini Secondary School presided over by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s allies called for a referendum.

In an apparent show of might, Dr Matiang'i led a huge delegation of national government officials to Dr Kibicho’s hometown, setting the stage for BBI politics.

Some 11 principal secretaries, all eight regional commissioners and about 15 parastatal heads were present.

Also in attendance were seven pro-handshake governors, half a dozen senators and close to 20 members of Parliament.

Mr Odinga has been categorical that the BBI report should not be taken to Parliament.

UNTRUSTWORTHY LEADERS

However, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said the report should be tabled in Parliament.

“Too much money was spent collecting views from the people and now you want to take it back to the same people. Bring it to Parliament and we will approve it within 15 minutes,” Mr Kuria said.

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