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Raila backs's Ruto's proposal in the referendum

Ruto and Raila on the same page

DP William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga

Opposition leader Raila Odinga backed Deputy President William Ruto's proposal for a constitutional referendum.

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DP Ruto had suggested that Cabinet Secretaries should also sit in Parliament as part of constitutional reforms to enhance governance and accountability.

I believe the composition of Cabinet needs to change to include MPs,” Mr Odinga stated.

But let Kenyans openly debate the options because, at the end of the day, it is the people who shall decide,” he added.

Referendum

He agreed with the DP's suggestion that Cabinet Secretaries should be accountable to Parliament, but the two differ on modalities.

Mr Odinga opined that the ministers should be picked from sitting MPs, Dr Ruto, suggested that they should be “ex-officio members of Parliament” who “must attend sittings of Parliament at least once every week and whenever required to answer questions on the floor of the House”.

The former Prime Minister expressed support for a parliamentary system of government, but the DP maintained that the suggestion is only meant to create positions for election losers, an apparent jibe at Mr Odinga, who lost the last two elections to President Kenyatta.

Chatham House

Mr Odinga has, however, disagreed with this line of argument, as well as the criticism that his push for a referendum is designed to give him and Mr Kenyatta new leases of political life.

Speaking at Chatham House, DP Ruto proposed the retention of the current arrangement where a president and his deputy are elected but where the runner-up becomes the official Opposition leader, much like the pre-2010 days.

I have heard suggestion that the National Executive should be expanded to accommodate a PM as well as two deputies as a means of addressing the winner take all challenge," Dr Ruto stated.

"This suggestion has two problems; it does not solve the problem which is that we need a functional, constitutional official Opposition and the positions if created would still be taken by the winning party,” he added.

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