Deputy President William Ruto has waded into the ongoing referendum debate, saying it should reduce the burden on Kenyans if at all the public is for it.
Ruto said the date and content, such as the questions to be posed, on the said referendum should be guided by all Kenyans.
The Deputy President spoke during the launch of different roads projects in Tharaka Nithi and Meru Counties in the company of Governor Muthomi Njuki and Governor Kiraitu Murungi on Saturday.
Other leaders present were MPs Kareke Mbiuki (Maara), Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka), Patrick Munene (Chuka Igamba’ngombe), Beatrice Nkatha (Women Rep, Tharaka Nithi), Halima Mucheke (nominated), Gichuge Kabebea (Tigania East), Mpuri Aburi (EALA), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Rehema Hassan (Women Rep, Tana River), Mugambi Rindiki (Buuri), John Mutunga (Tigania West) and Rahim Dawood (North Imenti).
The leaders said they were opposed to any attempts to amend the Constitution to create positions for some individuals. This, they said, would be a burden to Kenyans.
The legislators asked why the Orange Democratic Movement leaders were obsessed by the Deputy President and wondered if the referendum question they were pushing was “Ruto”.
Speaking in Kibugia Grounds in Tharaka Nithi County and Uruu Stadium in Meru County, Ruto said he was not opposed to the change of the Constitution if it was what Kenyans want.
He, however, cautioned that calls to amend the Constitution should not be an avenue to polarise the country.
“We are not opposed to the referendum. We are opposed to those who want to divide the country through it. You cannot use a divisive process in the name of uniting the country,” said Ruto.
He told those agitating for the change of the Constitution to agree on the contents of what they wanted to be included or removed from the existing one, saying Jubilee was focused on the implementation of the Big Four agenda.
“Those calling for the change of Constitution through a referendum should agree on what to reduce or add and why give us the date and assure Kenyans that they will accept the outcome of the referendum as they always oppose the results of every election,” said Ruto.
“As Jubilee, we don’t have time to waste delving on the change of Constitution. We are focused on developing the country. But we want to assure those calling for a change of the law that we are ready for it if it is the will of Kenyans,” added Ruto.
Murungi said he was an expert in constitution making adding that they backed the standby Ruto that Kenyans should not be overburdened by the creation of more offices.
He said Kenyans should not be taken round in circles with politics of referendum when they needed services and development.
“We don’t fear the referendum. Let them state the question and give the date. We will triumph.”
Njuki said Kenyans should not be threatened by some politicians that they would face the referendum whether they like it or not.
He said the people were supreme and leaders should not use shortcuts to power through the back door.
Njuki said: “You cannot chest thump that Kenyans will go to referendum by force to create positions for losers in the last election.”
Ichungwa said they would support a referendum that would reduce the burden on Kenyans rather than one that aims to create positions for some individuals.
“They should just tell us the question, date and time and we will turn out in large numbers. Raila Odinga should stop threatening Kenyans to change the Constitution the way he wants,” said the Kikuyu MP.
He criticised ODM leaders for taking most of their time and energy talking about the Deputy President and the referendum at the expense of campaigning for their candidate in the Monday Migori senatorial by-election Ochilo Ayacko.
“Instead of wasting their energies and time on William Ruto, the opposition leaders should tell us what they want a change in the Constitution; William Ruto is not the referendum,” said Ichungwa.
Murugara and Mbiuki told the Opposition to stop hiding behind the Building Bridges Initiative to cause discomfort in Government.
“We are ready for the referendum. But we must know the question and how it can improve the lives of Kenyans,” said Murugara.
Governor Muthomi said the change of the Constitution must be people-driven before County Assemblies, Parliament, and Senate approve it before the President signs it.
On her part, Nkatha said Jubilee leaders were not opposed to change of the Constitution but cautioned Odinga against threatening Kenyans to change it to suit his way.
“Who is Raila Odinga to dictate Kenyans on what should be changed in the Constitution? He is the former Prime Minister and that is all. There is nothing special about him,” said Nkatha.
She told ODM Minority Whip Junet Mohammed to stop disrespecting the Deputy President, saying Ruto was not in his political league.
The Deputy President also launched the construction work on the Thanantu Bridge in Tigania East, Miathane-Mikinduri road, and opened Kianjai land registry before issuing title deeds in Tigania West, Meru County.