Uhuru, Ruto meeting takes centre stage as BBI signature collection drive called off
The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) secretariat on Wednesday evening cancelled the launch of the signature collection drive that was set for Thursday.
The last-minute postponement came amidst reports of a three-hour long meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.
“The postponement has been necessitated by late completion and publication of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020 that is scheduled for printing later tonight (Wednesday night),” the joint chairpersons of the National BBI Secretariat – Dennis Waweru and Junet Mohamed said.
The secretariat indicated that a new date for the launch will be communicated in due course.
Sources indicate that the President and his Deputy met at 2pm at State House, Nairobi on Wednesday: details of the talks between the two leaders is yet to be made public.
DP Ruto has been at the forefront of challenging what he terms as ‘hardline position taken by some of those steering the process.’
In a tweet earlier on Wednesday, the country’s second in command said: “I LOVE this country enough NEVER to be part of any ‘war.’Not when there is a real possibility for a WIN-WIN CONSENSUS beckoning. An ‘US vs THEM, ‘YES/NO’ contest that will lead to LOSE-LOSE outcome is UNNECESSARY & UNWARRANTED.A NON-CONTESTED referendum is possible. INAWEZEKANA.”
And on Monday during a meeting with members of the County Assembly of Wajir, he was again categorical that the costly two-year product had turned out to be “highly controversial and with so many glaring gaps.”
According to Dr. Ruto, those driving the BBI should not tell Kenyans that they have no time for further amendments.
“If we cannot enrich the document, then we would end up with a bad constitution because its work was entirely unprofessional,” he said.
For the country to rally behind BBI, he said, there was an urgent need to improve its presentation and content.
“If we are trying to sort out the problem of divisive elections leading to a divided country via BBI, why then are we after a divisive referendum that would end up tearing apart the country?” he posed.
He said there should be no rush in the process “if we are serious and mean well for this country”.
“Could we be after a different outcome from the BBI other than the cohesiveness of our country?”
The Deputy President said by the look of things, it was clear some quarters were pushing for a YES-NO referendum for political reasons that targets the 2022 polls.
“Kenyans should not participate in this constricted agenda. Why should we railroad people to go to the presumed NO camp when we can all engage and have a consensus?” He explained.
With the coronavirus intensely destroying livelihoods and taking away lives, the Deputy President said it was time the country’s leadership was united and mobilised resources towards confronting the outbreak rather than campaign for BBI which can be put on hold.
Mr Gabane and Mr Hussein said Wajir County Assembly would not support a BBI that does not give prominence to the needs of the people.
“We would ask the people to reject it from the onset unless our views are factored in the report. We cannot move the country forward by creating positions for a few leaders when a majority of Kenyans are suffering,” said Rashid Karshey, the Wagberi Ward MCA.
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