Deputy President William Ruto has said that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has taken centre stage in the country at the expense of the Jubilee development agenda.
Responding to claims by the chairman of Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya that a report on the revival of sugarcane factories in Western Kenya has been shelved, Dr Ruto said more focus was now on BBI instead of development programs.
Speaking at Nakhwana grounds in Bumula constituency, Bungoma County, during the funeral service of Maurice Mabonga Wanjala, father to MP Mwambu Mabonga, the Deputy President noted that BBI has slowed down the Jubilee development agenda.
“The BBI team that include Mr Oparanya came and told us that there is an emergency that needed to be sorted out. That’s why the Jubilee development agenda including implementation of the sugar revival programme has been abandoned,” said Dr Ruto.
He said issues of Nzoia and Mumias could have been addressed were it not of the ‘urgency’ of BBI.
Present were Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), MPs Moses Mabonga ( Bumula), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), John Waluke (Sirisia), Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Catherine Wambilianga (Women Rep, Bungoma), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo)and Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon).
Others were Malulu Injendi (Malava), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Janet Nangabo (Women Rep, Trans Nzoia), Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Caleb Kositany (Soy), Caleb Hamisi (Saboti), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Beatrice Adagala (Women Rep, Vihiga) and Geoffrey Otsosi (nominated).
The Deputy President said the Jubilee’s Big Four agenda- manufacturing, housing, food security and access to healthcare were aimed at transforming the lives of Kenyans.
“The Big Four agenda that has been shelved, because more focus is now on BBI, was aimed at addressing key issues affecting Kenyans,” said Dr Ruto.
He said it was time to change the economic trajectory of the country from only few individuals and companies benefitting at the expense of millions of Kenyans.
“We are now in a situation where the economy trickles down but we want a bottom-up approach for our economy,” said Dr Ruto.
Mr Oparanya who is also the Kakamega governor complained that the sugar factory revival report they had presented to the government has been shelved.
“We held several meetings on the revival of sugar factories in western Kenya and we’ve presented our report but nothing has been done so far,” said Mr Oparanya.
The Governor also noted that counties have not received funds for operations from the Treasury for the last three months.
“Some of us cannot go to our offices because we have not paid contractors among other services because of lack of funds,” said Governor Oparanya.
The MPs on their part hit out at governor Oparanya for accusing the national government of failing to release funds for counties yet he has been busy calling for release of BBI funds to IEBC for verification of signatures.
“Oparanya has been in State House several times on matters of BBI but we’ve not heard him asking the President and Raila Odinga to release county funds,” posed MP Barasa.
Mr Wamalwa criticised some MPs of calling for Luhya unity yet they continue supporting Mr Odinga.
“Some MPs like Otsotsi keep on calling for Luhya unity yet they support Raila Odinga on the other hand. This is hypocrisy of the highest order. They should give us a break,” said Mr Wamalwa.
Mr Wamunyinyi said he was ready to work with the Deputy President as the acting leader of Ford-Kenya.
“In politics there should be honesty and sincerity. Some leaders accuse the Deputy President during the day but at night they are with him. This is unfair. I am ready to work with Dr Ruto ahead of 2022,” said Mr Wamunyinyi.
Governor Wangamati said he will continue to work with the Deputy President and all elected leaders for the sake of unity and development.