Uhuru in 3-hour BBI meeting with Ruto at State House - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 19 November 2020

Uhuru in 3-hour BBI meeting with Ruto at State House

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted his deputy William Ruto for a three-hour meeting at State House, Nairobi.

The Star understands that the two discussed the ongoing BBI debate and how Ruto's concerns can be accommodated before the process moves further.

While Uhuru has been calling for consensus, his handshake partner ODM leader Raila Odinga has been saying that the window for negotiations had gone.

Sources close to the two told the Star that the meeting was triggered by a meeting the President had with religious leaders on Tuesday.

"The religious leaders told the President to work closely with his deputy to ensure that the country is not plunged into a political crisis over the BBI and the possible approaching referendum," one source told the Star.

The religious leaders are said to be concerned that the perceived isolation of Ruto from the talks on BBI was likely to divide the country further.

"They told the President that the more Ruto appears isolated, the more his agenda of uniting Kenyans appear to just be talk," another source said.

This, as the national secretariat said the BBI signature drive launch had been postponed.

It said the postponement was occasioned by late completion and publication of the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020.

Ruto has called for inclusion in the BBI dialogue.

He urged county assemblies to shun a forced 'Yes-no' campaign around BBI that threatens to be retrogressive for the country.

Speaking when he met Wajir MCAs on Monday, Ruto said the county assemblies must work together and push for progressive engagements around the Building Bridges Initiative.

"...so that we can build a consensus on the report. A divisive referendum process cannot be used to achieve a united country," he said.

 He added: "We must at the moment prioritise the health of our people and focus on countering the effects of Covid-19."

For the country to rally behind BBI, Ruto said, there is 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?” he said.

“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?."

Ruto said the country is headed to a lose-lose outcome from the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) unless the hardline position taken by some of those steering the process is relaxed.

He regretted that the costly two-year product had turned out to be “highly controversial and with so many glaring gaps”.

“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.

He said there should be no rush in the process “if we are serious and mean well for this 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. 

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