Kenya: Referendum debate rages on despite Uhuru warning

Debate on the proposed referendum and 2022 elections intensified even as President Uhuru Kenyatta warned against politicking.

At Meru National Polytechnic, President Kenyatta reiterated that politicians should focus on development.

“Kenyans want to know what the government is doing for them. They want to know about housing, electricity, roads and other development projects. Kenyans are not interested in daily politics,” he said.

He spoke during the 7th Annual Conference of Constitutional Commissions & Independent Offices.

At Kinoru Stadium, where he issued cheques from the women and youth funds, President Kenyatta castigated politicians who are “showing off” by discussing the next general election.

“Leaders should stop confusing Kenyans with politics. Only development work will be seen, not politicking. A time for politics will come,” he said.

In Bungoma County, Deputy President (DP) William Ruto said calls for the referendum are “idle talk” by politicians who have abandoned their work.

“As leaders, we should be sincere with ourselves and focus on service delivery. This rhetoric on the referendum should not be allowed to continue. The public is waiting for improved services,” he said while commissioning the Terem-Chwele-Nalondo water project in Mount Elgon.

In Tharaka-Nithi County last Saturday, Mr Ruto welcomed the referendum but said special political positions should not be the result. The DP further said he has no qualms with leaders from the political divide if they work to benefit the public.

Senator Moses Wetang’ula said the referendum should not be used to resurrect politicians.

As Mr Ruto denounced the referendum debate, Jubilee and Kanu party politicians from Rift Valley were locked in a bitter contest over who should own the referendum push in the region. The supremacy battle is between Mr Ruto’s allies and those of Kanu leader Gideon Moi.

The battle has shifted from whether the referendum is necessary to who is genuine about it and which party should be trusted with it. After days of avoiding the subject, Mr Moi said he will support it if the content is people-driven.

“We want a Constitution that will not drag us into wars during the electioneering period and one that will be all-inclusive. My appeal to politicians is to let Kenyans decide what is fit for them. If they decide they want to scrap the Senate seat, well and good. I will resort to being a sisal farmer in my Mogotio farm,” the Baringo Senator said.

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto spoke as Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka launched a massive membership recruitment drive in preparation for the 2022 election. He wants the number to increase by more than 100 per cent in the next six months.

“We are the third largest political party (after Jubilee and ODM) but I see Wiper becoming the biggest political party in Kenya,” he said at the party headquarters in Karen, Nairobi.

By Daily Nation

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