Deputy President William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta at KICC on July 17, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta at KICC on July 17, 2019.
Image: DPPS

By Correspondent

Deputy President has said that Kenya does not need a referendum to deal with its immediate governance challenges.

Ruto instead said that Kenyans should use Parliament to establish offices of the official opposition to play its role.

“A referendum that addresses the needs of wananchi and eases their burden is the way to go. The two sides that are fronting issues for a public vote ought to sit, deliberate and prosecute key matters that will be put to Kenyans,” Ruto said.

Speaking on K24 TV’s Punchline show on Sunday night, the DP said that those who were in the opposition are somewhere in between.

“You need a stronger opposition than anything else in Kenya today. The opposition leaders are stranded because they are not in Parliament or in any formal office,” Ruto said.

He added that those who are agitating for constitutional change should come together and give Kenyans their proposals.

“As the deputy president, I am busy assisting the president in putting the development agenda in place. We are busy with the delivery of the Big Four,” Ruto said.

Ruto also cautioned against some of the proposals being made such as having the loser of the election become a prime minister.

He added that Kenya is a multi-party democracy and any legislation that negates this constitutional ideal is untenable and will set us on the path of a dictatorship.

“We can’t contemplate such a scenario as it will defeat accountability, transparency and competent leadership. We should make sure that the opposition has the clear mandate and infrastructure to carry out their opposition,” Ruto said.

He added; “If a referendum comes, William Ruto like any other Kenyan will make a decision at the ballot by voting. And whichever way it goes, we will work with that.”

The Deputy President also dismissed claims that he was not in a good working relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We have a working relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Our rapport goes back a long time. We share a vision of unity, prosperity and common good for all Kenyans,” Ruto said.

He also told off those who have been dismissing his 2022 candidature citing the President’s interests such as former Jubilee vice-chair David Murathe.

“The Uhuru Kenyatta I know speaks his mind and doesn’t need Murathe to speak on his behalf. The hangers-on have their own interests and cannot say William Ruto is not focused and does not have ideas,” Ruto said.

He added; “When I supported Raila Odinga I was a good boy, I was not corrupt. When I supported Uhuru for the first term, I was not corrupt. Now people have to look for something to muddy the waters.”

The DP maintained his stance that some people were involved in propaganda dismissing claims that up to a third of the Kenyan budget was getting wasted in corruption.

“When someone claims that Sh800 billion has been lost to corruption, what are they saying? Out revenue collection is about Sh1.45 trillion; we pay salaries of about Sh700 billion. Are they saying that after paying salaries nothing else is done?” Ruto posed.

 He added; “The problem is when people bring propaganda. The best way to fight corruption is by removing the falsehoods and actually fighting corruption,” Ruto said.

Ruto said that if Kenya was not winning the war on corruption, there would not have been the kind of development and progress we are seeing.

He cited construction of roads, expansion of technical institutes and putting more Kenyans on the power grid as some of the things that show Jubilee is putting resources into good use.

Ruto once again dismissed claims that he does not support the handshake between Uhuru and opposition leader Raila Odinga. 

“The handshake is an extension of the Jubilee philosophy of bringing this country together. Bring this country together is at the heart of Jubilee Party. The handshake is actually an extension of Jubilee spirit, of bringing communities together,” Ruto said.