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Face-off: Raila, Ruto feud goes to House

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by ByaseL, Feb 16, 2012.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Feb 16, 2012
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    Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Eldoret North MP William Ruto on Wednesday exchanged angry words in Parliament over the implementation of the Constitution and the trial of the Ocampo Four at The Hague.
    Facing-off from opposite sides of the Chamber, the former political allies traded words on campaign propaganda and the reasons for the International Criminal Court taking two cases related to 2008 post election violence.

    Speaker Kenneth Marende was forced to intervene time after time as the MPs allied to the two constantly shot to their feet in defence of their leaders.

    The afternoon session had just gathered pace after Question Time, with Mr Odinga taking to the Floor to issue his weekly statement on government policies.

    On Wednesday, he spoke of the need for MPs to pass Bills on devolution and land, which have to be passed in 10 days, rounding up his statement with an announcement that Parliament, not just him and President Kibaki, would have the final say on the General Election date.

    Trouble started when Mr Ruto asked Mr Odinga to clarify utterances that those who opposed the passing of the Constitution should not seek leadership positions come the elections.

    “Can the Prime Minister clarify whether this is the policy of the government that those who exercised their democratic rights to vote No during the referendum should not be allowed to participate in the elections or is it just his campaign propaganda?” demanded Mr Ruto.

    Mr Odinga denied that he had called for the disenfranchisement of those who opposed the new constitution, but added that those who spearheaded the No campaign could not be trusted to implement it.

    “All I have said is that if you stood up and engaged the public in propaganda that if the new constitution is passed, homosexuality will be allowed in this country; that if the new constitution is passed, women will be allowed to abort and that there will be wards for abortion in our hospitals ... I have said that if you did not believe in the constitution, can you be trusted to implement it? You can only implement what you believe in,” Mr Odinga responded.

    The reply prompted Mr Ruto to rise on a point of order, accusing the PM of evading his question.

    He insisted that Mr Odinga categorically tells the house whether it was government policy or his own propaganda.

    At this point, Mr Odinga stated that while it was not government policy to lock out those who voted No, he had a right to ask Kenyans not to elect those who opposed the new constitution in the way some politicians had been moving around the country telling Kenyans that they would unite to ensure he is not elected during the next elections.

    PNU Nominated MP George Nyamweya dismissed the PM’s arguments, arguing that all leaders in government and Parliament had taken an oath to defend and protect the Constitution.

    “Whether we voted Yes or No does not matter, it is now our Constitution,” he said.

    In the course of the exchanges, the issues of trials of the Ocampo Four by the ICC came up, with Mr Odinga defending himself against claims that he prodded The Hague to investigate and try those behind the 2008 post election violence.

    Source:Daily Nation