On Wednesday, November 25, Deputy President William Ruto was the talk of the town after skipping the launch of the collection of signatures to support proposals to amend the 2010 Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process.
The DP’s communication team later defended the second in command saying he missed the event that was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) because nobody sent him an invitation.
It has now emerged that the DP also skipped a key event last Thursday presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta, raising concerns over the duo’s working relationship amid differences in the push to amend the Constitution.
Reports indicate that Ruto was the only member of the National Security Council (NSC) who failed to attend the crucial meeting held from Thursday evening to Saturday, in which the members deliberated on matters security.
NSC is the highest decision making organ in the country on issues touching on security.
The council consists of the Head of State, the DP, Defence Cabinet Secretary, Internal Security CS, Attorney General, Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, Director General of National Intelligence Sevices and the Inspector General of Police.
It was not immediately clear on why the DP skipped the event held at the Kenya Defence Forces Kamanga Military Camp in Samburu County.
President Kenyatta is said to have directly flown to Samburu on Thursday for the meeting from Nakuru after commissioning KDF’s new cadet of officers at the Kenya Military Academy, an event the DP did not attend.
Those who attended the President’s meeting in Samburu include three CSs Monica Juma (Defence), Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi, IG Hillary Mutymbai and NIS Director General Major General (Rtd) Philip Kameru.
During the meeting, the members evaluated important national security issues for this year and deliberated on anticipated challenges for the coming year.
As the meeting went on the DP is said to have met his allies even as the push to amend the constitution gains momentum with the ongoing exercise of signature collection.
Ruto’s absence in the recent meetings could indicate a widening rift with his boss ahead of the anticipated referendum.
The DP had on Friday indicated that BBI had factored in some of the contentious issues raised, leaving Kenyans speculating that he had finally backed the push to amend the constitution.
“New article 11A in the BBI Constitution bill introduced after Bomas will anchor the ordinary peoples’ Hustler economics of wheelbarrow, boda×2, mamamboga, pastoralists/butchers & guaranteed minimum returns on coffee, tea,korosho,sukari,maize. Bottom-up and not trickle down economics, ” Ruto tweeted.
But on Saturday, while reacting to reports that he had changed his hard stance on BBI, the DP remained non-commital on supporting the amendment of the constitution.
“Rush not to conclusions or pretence to prophecy. I’ve received overwhelming feedback (All shades)from Kenyans. Asante. The furry of political merchants desperate to encash (Like they did COVID19) A divisive referendum is shockingly evident. Possibility of consensus is their nightmare, ” he tweeted.
“I’ve constitutional duty to assist my boss, the President. We’ve made Improvements to BBI post bomas. Now working on consensus for Kenyans to have real choices to decide/vote while avoiding yes/no,all/nothing division. We avoided lose-lose we can overcome win-lose to achieve win-win.”