There is no way to hide Deputy President William Ruto’s reservations about the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) document.
During the BBI launch at Bomas of Kenya in November 2019, Ruto’s body language and demeanour exposed the inner turmoil and made clear the misgivings that he had over the document even before he had uttered a word.
Ruto (pictured) sat at his usual spot beside President Uhuru Kenyatta but was at the edge of his seat, leaning as far away from the Head of State as he could.
While President Kenyatta was jaunty, laughing almost nonchalantly and slapping his thighs at a joke that Suna MP Junet Mohamed made, Ruto’s expression was dark and searching, like a man out of place. He did not find anything funny in Junet making fun of his predicament at Jubilee Party.
Rift Valley legislator have opposed a move by leaders in the party to join the ongoing BBI popularization rallies, saying they are ODM leader Raila Odinga’s 2022 campaign meetings.
Emurua Dikiir MP Johanna Ngeno, an ardent supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, said supporters of the DP have had enough humiliations and should not attend the BBI rallies, including the one scheduled for Saturday in Mombasa.
He called it unwise for Ruto-allied politicians to attend the rally. Those planning to attend should join ODM, he said.
“Akufukuzae hakuambii toka (A person who wants you out of her/his place will not tell you so,” he said, implying that the signs are on the wall, hence Ruto supporters must act accordingly.
“My advice to my group, especially Ruto’s supporters, is that we have been humiliated enough and Kenyans have seen and heard of the same, so I do not see any why we should attend.”
Ngeno said he will not attend BBI rallies planned by the Kielewke and ODM unless he reconsiders his stand to join the party and support Odinga as before when he was in the camp.
The outspoken lawmaker asked the leaders supporting Ruto not to attend the rally but rather organise similar meetings with their supporters and come up with resolutions that will be handed over to the committee tasked to gather proposals.
He claimed the rallies are not for the BBI as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta but rather ODM functions that benefit the party and its leader alone.
By last evening, invitations had been sent out to delegates who were asked to confirm their attendance to the BBI Steering Committee Secretariat. The invitations were being sent out through the Ministry of Interior and the Dp’s invitation was confirmed yesterday at noon.
After attending a funds drive at St Joseph Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church at Idangalasia in Matungu Constituency, Kakamega County, Ruto took about half an hour to address residents who had crowded in the church.
Initially, Ruto seemed to dwell on what he termed as the clampdown on the freedom of worship; a reaction after police outlawed some of his church meetings due to security and Covid-19 concerns.
But he closed his address by giving his take on the BBI debate, saying it had failed to promote inclusivity.
He stressed that the document addressed issues that only concerned leaders.
“In my respectful submission, issues that concern millions of Kenyans locked out by poverty and unemployment should be given priority over issues that concern leaders and the power they want to share,” he said.
Part of Ruto’s distaste for the BBI has to do with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the ‘nobody can stop reggae’ approach that Raila and other BBI proponents have adopted.
“I want to tell those who are saying nobody can stop reggae that they have to give us a break and give this nation a chance to be able to discuss issues…there is a God in heaven, you and your reggae might be shocked,” said Ruto.
Yesterday, leaders who accompanied the DP described the report as self-centred, only favouring the powerful.
Politician Johnstone Muthama said Kenyans should stand up and reject the report since it had no genuine interest for millions of Kenyans.
“We don’t want to gamble or mislead Kenyans into supporting a report that will create five positions for few people and then leave millions to suffer,” said Muthama.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said BBI was meant for a few people who will enjoy the posts of prime minster and two deputies while leaving out millions of Kenyans.