Deputy President William Ruto has cautioned leaders against using the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to advance their personal agenda.
He said initiative was started with the sole aim of uniting the country, noting that in any case, it would be incumbent upon Kenyans to decide it’s outcome.
Speaking when he officially opened the Chepsirei Technical Training Institute (TTI) in Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet County on Saturday, Dr Ruto asked leaders to desist from activities that could instill fear among peace-loving Kenyans.
“We are in a democratic society and the proposals by BBI will be subjected to an open national conversation where every voice will be heard. Those working hard to create new fault lines will not succeed,” said Dr Ruto.
He said it was wrong for some leaders to threaten others that ‘a tsunami’ through BBI was on the offing and that it would ‘sweep away’ some people.
“Those spreading lies about BBI and telling us about tsunami that will sweep away some people should know that such a route is a slippery one and that we can’t go there,” said Dr Ruto.
Present were MPs Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Margaret Kamar (Uasin-Gishu), Daniel Rono (Keiyo South), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), Jane Chebaibai (Women Rep, Elgeyo Marakwet) and deputy governor Wesley Rotich.
He told leaders to stop sideshows and focus on activities aimed at uniting the country instead of instilling fear, hatred and division.
“As leaders we should take the lead in preaching peace and unity among all Kenyans so that we have a country that we can all be proud of,” said Dr Ruto.
Mr Murkomen criticized Opposition leader Raila Odinga of reading from a different script from that of the president on matters to do with BBI.
“If the BBI is a good thing, then why are we being given lectures that it will pass whether we like it or not? If it is about the unity of Kenyans, then consultations should take centre stage and not threats,” said Mr Murkomen.
He added: “The President says BBI is about the unity of the county while others are telling us that it is about change of the Constitution whether we like it or not.”
“But if they think change of Constitution will disadvantage some of us on matters of leadership, they should know that we are ahead of them. We are not fools,” said Mr Murkomen.
The leaders also petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to reconsider the decision to scale down the funding on the Arror dam and the move to stop the construction work on the Kimwarer dam in the county.
Mr Murkomen, asked the government to reconsider its decision on the dams.
Dr Ruto said construction of dams across the country was contained in the Jubilee administration, saying the initiative would not discriminate any part of the nation.
“The construction of dams in this area will go a long way in providing water for irrigation and thus eradicate cases of cattle rustling as youths will be busy in farms,” said Dr Ruto.
Ms Chebaibai said BBI was formed with the intention of changing the Constitution to create more positions and accommodate the Opposition leaders including Mr Odinga.
Mr Rono said the move to stop the construction work on the Kimwarer dam was ill advised and was done in bad faith.
“The move to suspend the Kimwarer and scaling down of funding for Arror was politically motivated. We are Kenyans like the rest and we have a right to development,” said Rono.