Leaders urged to set aside differences and focus on development

Deputy President William Ruto has urged Taita Taveta leaders to sort out their differences amicably without resorting to dissolving the county.

He said by calling for the dissolution of the county, the leaders were eroding the gains that have so far been made through devolution.

Speaking during a church service held at Buguta grounds in Taita Taveta County, the Deputy President asked leaders in the area to put aside their differences and take a common stand in addressing challenges facing the people.

“The solution of problems facing Taita Taveta County cannot be solved by moving from one office to another in Nairobi. You can’t solve issues of Taita Taveta in Nairobi. They can be solved here at the grassroots if you put aside your differences and work together,” said Dr Ruto.

He said leaders should embrace dialogue in solving their differences; noting that wrangles and chaos were subjecting the people to untold suffering.

Present were MPs John Mlolwa (Voi), Lydia Haika (Women Rep, Taita Taveta), Kassim Tandaza (Matuga), Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Vincent Mogaka (West Mugirango).

Dr Ruto said devolution has transformed the lives of millions of Kenyans, wondering why leaders in Taita Taveta were calling for the dissolution of their county.

“As leaders, I want to ask you to discourage wrangles and chaos. You were elected to serve the people. Calling for dissolution of your county is not a solution at all to your problems. There is no need for arrogance,” said Dr Ruto.

The Deputy President said the national government was ready to partner with county governments on matters of development, noting that it would not be party to quarrels and confusion among leaders.

Earlier, the MPs said they would not support the review of the Constitution whose basis is benefiting a few.

They said any changes in the constitution must be informed by the needs of the people.

Speaking in Shimba Hills in Kwale County in the company of the Deputy President during a prayer service, the leaders said the proposed referendum would be a burden to the country.

Ms Haika said changing the Constitution was not a solution to challenges facing Kenyans.

“We don’t want politics of deceit in this country. The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was formed with the purpose of peace and reconciliation. Now it is turning to be about change of Constitution to create jobs for some few people,” said Haika.

Meanwhile, Dr Ruto noted that he would continue to work with all leaders. He urged leaders to shun the politics of deceit and ethnicity, observing that they would take the country back.

“I ask leaders to have a transformative mindset. It is the leaders who do not have a vision and development programmes that degenerate to ethnicity. There is no place for that in Kenya today,” he said.

Mr Tayari said the country should channel the little funds it has in healthcare, infrastructure, education, security, among other priority areas instead of amending the constitution.

Mr Tandaza regretted that the development of the country was being sacrificed at the altar of politics.

“We do not have time for politics that will have no impact on the lives of the people,” he explained.

The Matuga lawmaker added that he would support a review of the constitution that would bring services closer to the people other than “creating positions for leaders with dwindling political fortunes”.

Mr Mogaka said he would oppose any changes in the constitution if it is aimed at putting more load on the people.

“We know there are some politicians who are desperate, sitting in boardrooms to come up with a plan to be in power. We would oppose that,” he said.

Mr Mogaka added that despite being in a different political outfit, he would support Dr Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid “because he is a leader with a development track-record”.

On his part, Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) pledged to rally behind Dr Ruto “because we want a shift in our form of politics”.

“We have been suffering in the hands of political brokers whose agenda has been selfish. Theirs has been the politics of ethnicity, hate and division,” he said.

Mr Mwashetani said it is the politics of development and unity that would transform the Coastal region and create opportunities for all.

“We do not want a society that is divided between the rich and the poor. We want to see a more equal country, and that is where Dr Ruto is taking us,” argued Mr Mwashetani.

Mr Mwashako said leaders from Coastal region, “will rally behind those who address our challenges”.