Deputy President William Ruto is increasingly getting isolated in his stand against a referendum after opposition leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula changed tune and joined the clamour for change.
But the two leaders have a rider to their change of heart: The electoral commission must be restructured before the plebiscite.
The isolation appears to follow a pattern, starting with Mr Ruto’s apparent failure to influence, or attend the unveiling of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second Cabinet and later compounded by his boss’ unity deal with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
But Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, a close ally of the DP, was waxing lyrical about his chances and what he appears to suggest is Mr Ruto’s biggest asset: Money.
“I want to tell my brothers Mudavadi and Wetang’ula this: If you want to be president, call all of us, and lay down your Sh200 billion for the campaigns, and the network you have in Kenya, not just jokes of hanging on to each other’s coattails,” Mr Echesa said.
The CS spoke at the homecoming party for Lubunu-Luisheya Ward Representative Elly Keya in Mumias East Constituency on Saturday, a function attended by Mr Mudavadi, who rubbished the claim, saying ‘a good brain’ was all one needed to be president.
The exchange came on a day Mr Mudavadi declared his support for a referendum, after he initially seemed to join the DP in opposing the vote.
“If you were to ask me if I support referendum, my answer is yes. If you were to ask me if I support constitutional change, my answer is yes but through the one envisaged in the Bomas Draft,” said Mr Mudavadi in Kisumu. In Nakuru, Mr Wetang’ula was of the same persuasion.
“We want to see this country moving to a parliamentary system that will be all-inclusive in terms of representation by regions, by communities,” said Mr Wetang’ula.
The two leaders were in agreement that the issue of the restructuring of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must be addressed.
On Sunday, however, Jubilee MPs allied to Mr Ruto opposed calls for constitutional amendments, claiming it will polarise the country, coming shortly after the last General Election.
“The country is yet to recover from the last elections and calls for a referendum will prove costly to Kenyans,” said Trans-Nzoia Woman Representative Janet Nangabo.
The legislators, who spoke during a funds-drive attended by Mr Ruto in Kitale, Trans-Nzoia County cautioned their political opponents against capitalising on the Uhuru-Raila pact to engage in early 2022 campaigns.
Those who addressed the occasion were Endebess MP Robert Pukose, National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and Navakholo’s Emmanuel Wangwe.