Opposition MPs, Ruto clash over law changes

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Deputy President William Ruto and a section of NASA MPs clashed over the weekend over DP’s opposition to any law change to alter the government structure.

Ruto who spoke in Kericho county during the homecoming ceremony of Beret MP Japhet Mutai said politicians pushing for constitution amendments to create more political positions should stop being greedy and instead focus on development.

The remarks perceived to be targeted at the outcome of President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga unity talks and Tiaty MP William Kamket (Kanu) Bill seeking to introduce Prime Minister position has put the DP in collision path with a host of NASA MPs who have accused him of secretly assembling an anti-handshake team to frustrate the talks.

Ambassador Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi are leading a dialogue committee whose outcome will inform the nature of engagement between President Uhuru and his once political enemy turn buddy Raila Odinga.

The now one-month talks is expected to come up with an expanded government structure to accommodate various political interests in the country.

MPs Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), George Aladwa (Makadara), Antony Oluoch (Mathare), Godfrey Osotsi (nominated MP), Florence Mutua (Busia Woman Representative) and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna yesterday hit at Ruto insisting the unity talks currently ongoing will require revisiting the country’s leadership structure through a referendum.

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The leaders maintained the range of issues highlighted by both Uhuru and Raila especially inclusivity can only be realised by altering the structure of the government.

“We are not going to change the constitution so that politicians can get positions. Our priority is to serve Millions of Kenyans, not to engage in an exercise that will only satisfy the needs of greedy politician,” he said.

Atandi fired the first salvo at the Deputy President accusing him of misunderstanding the handshake adding that a law change is inevitable.

“DP William Ruto has been impatient man lately especially after handshake, according to him handshake is to undermine his political game plan, he has misunderstood the handshake. The current structure of government does not help to ensure national inclusivity” said Atandi.

“We must change the constitution, look at the structure of government. The pure presidential system has not served as well, ” added Oluoch.

Mutua said the Ruto’s remarks were unfortunate and akin to dictating rules of dialogue beforehand.

“Some people should know that the constitution is a live document and can be amended anytime,” she said.

The leaders were speaking yesterday at Mariakani Church of God in Nairobi’s South B.

The Tiaty MP has also sponsored a Bill to introduce the position of the Prime Minister.

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On saturday, Ruto said Jubilee Party is not party to the Bill saying it only meant to benefit a few individuals at the expense of Millions of Kenyans.

The Bill by the first time MP does not only want to create the position of the powerful Prime Minister but is also proposing that the next President should just be ceremonial with no powers and should only serve for a single seven -term.

“The Bill seeks to amend the constitution to limit the president to a ceremonial role of Head of State and a symbol of national unity,” he said

In the Bill, the Kanu MP wants the PM to have executive powers and be the leader of government business. He says the proposed post is to be filled by an elected MP.

“…to amend the Constitution which will allow Parliament to provide for the position of Prime Minister, leader of the Opposition, and members of the shadow Cabinet,” he said.

According to the Bill, the President is to be elected in a joint sitting of Parliament convened on the first Thursday of December every seventh year.

The Bill notes that the President should not hold any elective or appointive office with political parties.

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The former Baringo County Assembly Speaker also proposes a deletion of Article 132 of the Constitution that seeks to reduce the functions of the President.

“It is proposed that a candidate for election as President has attained the age of 50 years and he or she should not hold any political party post,” the Bill reads in part.

The Bill also proposes that the Deputy President post should be scrapped.

“The Bill seeks to delete references to the deputy president,” it read.

The Bill proposes the reintroduction of the leader of the Opposition and that the cabinet secretaries should also originate from Parliament.

Kamket proposes county assemblies to elect two senators each of the opposite gender.

Kanu chairman and Ruto’s main rival in Rift Valley politics Gideon Moi has endorsed the Bill which has proposed radical changes to the 2010 Constitution.

Both Ruto and Gideon are eying the presidency in the 2022 general election and the Bill which National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has opposed has sparked a new supremacy war in the Rift Valley.

Ruto’s lieutenants are of the opinion that effecting the changes would be tantamount to shortchanging the DP who is keen at succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta and they expect him to enjoy executive presidency .

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