Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday issued two conditions for the ongoing referendum debate, saying that he would not support any plan to merge counties or introduced centralized system of government.

Ruto spoke barely a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta hinted at a referendum to change the system of government to one where “winner does not take all”.

Deputy President William Ruto in Lamu where he opposed merger of counties in the ongoing referendum debate

The President did not elaborate on some of the possible solutions but his allies have indicated that the options will be clearer once the Building Bridges Initiative finishes collecting views from Kenyans.

The Deputy President’s message is in sharp contrast to ODM Leader Raila Odinga who has recently advocated for a new layer of government bringing together several devolved units.

Odinga has in the past said some of the counties are not economically viable as they currently exist and has proposed forming regional units which would be bring together several counties headed by Premiers.

Deputy President William Ruto in Lamu where he opposed merger of counties in the ongoing referendum debate

The DP made the remarks while on a working tour in Lamu where he presided over the opening of Pate Girls Secondary School in Lamu East constituency.

He was accompanied by area MP Shariff Ali Athman, Starehe’s Charles Jaguar, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, among others.