Ruto’s Move to Support Referendum Sends ODM Think Tank Back to Drawing Board

Deputy President William Ruto’s sudden decision to support the push for a referendum aimed at amending the constitution has raised eyebrows within Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s circles.

Odinga’s allies are wary of the ‘Conditions’ Ruto is setting as prerequisite for the looming plebiscite.

The change of tune by the DP means that the debate now shifts on the timing and the content of the proposed of the amendments.

National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed on Sunday welcomed the DP’s change of tune but described as “irrelevant” conditions him and his allies have given in exchange to fully support the amendment to the supreme law.

“Mr Ruto change of tune is fine. We thank him for seeing the light and leaving the devil’s chapel but we want his allies to desist from making demands. They either support the initiative or they don’t,” Mr Mohamed said. “The conditions are irrelevant because what is important is what is good for the people.”

Ruto said that those planning the plebiscite should know that Kenyans were not interested in creating positions for leaders but in development.

“Let the group talking about reduction of seats work with those for creation of positions and come up with the question for the referendum. But if they think they will create positions, we are telling them to forget,” he said.

“Telling us that the referendum was agreed upon under the handshake is a lie. Saying that the referendum is a must is dictatorship,” Mr Ruto said.

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen had said during a public rally in Elgeyo Marakwet he supported calls for a referendum but with conditions.

“We don’t fear referendum or an election. Should the president and his deputy summon us for a meeting as legislators to communicate to us that we abandon the Big Four Agenda and go for a referendum we will support it,” said Mr Murkomen.

“But should the referendum be called, we will not support a referendum which will make us as Elgeyo-Marakwet County go back to Nakuru yet devolution has brought services closer to the people.”

Kitui governor Charity Ngilu expressed shock with the DP’s change of tune describing it as insincere. She said she expected Mr Ruto to be the one pushing the most for changes to the sections which made him oppose the document in 2010.

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