Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have softened their hard-line stance on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
They have now instead chosen to conditionally embrace it and form a think-tank to align the team to looming realities of an altered Executive.
It is a foregone conclusion that the report about to be presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta recommends a raft of proposals that overhaul the imperial presidency and introduces forms of sharing power.
The new group that brings together MPs and political strategists close to the DP is looking at all possible scenarios, including any last-minute changes the task force may resort to.
SEE ALSO :BBI should convince Kenyans referendum will benefit all
Already, and in the last few days, Ruto allies have publicly thawed their hitherto hardline stands of blanket opposition to the BBI and adopted conciliatory and mollified approach to the same. “We have looked at our numbers and think that we are okay in any system of government they propose,” said Belgut MP Nelson Koech.
According to Koech, the DP’s team will have no problem with the BBI report if it suggests noble things that will benefit the country. The MP’s views mirrors those of others close to the DP like the National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale.
Duale told the Sunday Standard that they were unperturbed by any constitutional review if it will push the country into a parliamentary system of government. “Jubilee will have bigger numbers in the next election, so those who think that by introducing the premier they will get an easy way to power will be in for a rude shock,” he said. From an initial outright opposition of the task force’s operations, Soy MP Caleb Kositany now says Kenyans will thoroughly evaluate the report and take a position on its content.
Kipkelion West MP Hillary Kosgey says an expanded executive will get Ruto more bargaining power as he will have the presidency and premier slots to share with his political bases. “Its a win-win for us. We are following the development quietly,” said Kosgey.
The latest about-turn by some of the DP’s allies is informed by details presented to them in a strategy meeting, which indicated they will easily marshal the numbers to have both the majority in Parliament and numbers for presidency, whichever will be the preference.
SEE ALSO :Ruto will suffer big loss if we have a BBI plebiscite
On Friday night, Ruto mocked unnamed opponents who were sitting pretty in Nairobi waiting on leadership to fall onto them. “I would like to tell some of my friends who are resting in Nairobi that leadership does not come easily, that is why I am busy moving around the country as the Deputy President delivering on the projects we promised Kenyans in 2017,” said the DP. Yesterday, a confident Raila asked those opposing the BBI to “sober up and join the rest of Kenyans on the road to lasting peace”.
“Both Uhuru and I have not seen the report and we do not know what it contains but some people out here are opposing something they do not know,” he said at a burial in Kilifi.
“When the report is out it will be taken to Kenyans to give views and then it will be taken to the county assemblies before being taken to Parliament and those making noise should wait for it.”
Equalisation of the vote
The BBI report will be presented to President Kenyatta this week. On Wednesday, the BBI team through its joint secretaries, Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi, said they had already communicated with the State House about their completion.
SEE ALSO :Ignore Aukot, only way to prosperity is BBI, says Raila
Whereas President Kenyatta dismissed the assertion that the BBI was about creating extra seats in the executive, Raila has repeatedly promised that there will be a referendum after the report is released.
“Once the report is out, we will publish it for Kenyans to give their views then go for a referendum. I have seen a storm, there are signs that it will rain. “There’s a storm that will take all the Tanga Tanga people to the ocean,” said Raila.
During the launch of Wanga Technical Institute in Mumias East Constituency on Friday, Ruto allies urged the proponents of BBI to “bring it on”.
They said the delegation of power and resources to lower levels had helped open up even the so-called marginalised areas in the country and that was their priority.
The leaders said what Kenyans needed most was more funds channelled to counties, completely deviating from the hot issue of the structure of the executive.
SEE ALSO :BBI a waste of taxpayers money, says Ruto
National Assembly Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali said the country would not accept any proposal that would frustrate devolution. “We will see how it goes,” said Washiali.
But even as they make a turn-around, the challenge is how Ruto and his allies will appease Mt Kenya voting bloc that seems to be perturbed by the possible introduction of the parliamentary system of government.
“If the BBI does not address the challenges of equalisation of the vote, under the universal suffrage principle of one man onevote, then we will sit down and advise our electorate accordingly,” said Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.
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BBIWilliam RutoUhuru KenyattaMPs
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