Deputy President William Ruto yesterday revealed his team’s newest strategy in their push for a multiple-choice referendum.
The DP ditched the push for the enactment of a new referendum law, instead preferring the use of the existing election law.
While he had last week voiced his support for a Referendum Bill by the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC), Dr Ruto yesterday said as it stands, the law providing for multiple-choice referendum was already in place and should be used in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum expected by June next year.
“The Elections Act already provides that we can have a referendum with either one question if we have only one issue, or with multiple questions if we have more than one issue. And because we have more than one issue in this referendum, we should have a multiple-choice referendum. That is all we are asking so that the people of Kenya can express themselves and make choices,” Dr Ruto said yesterday at the Jesus Is Alive Ministries Church in Nairobi during a funds drive
Section 49 and 50 of the Elections Act talks of having more than one question in a referendum, a provision the TangaTanga group now reads to mean the multiple-choice plebiscite they have been pushing for.
“Where an issue to be decided in a referendum has been referred to the Commission, the Commission shall frame the question or questions to be determined during the referendum,” Section 49 (2) of the Elections Act states.
“The Commission may assign such symbol for each answer to the referendum question or questions as it may consider necessary,” Section 49 (7) says, with the law warning that such symbol should not resemble any by a political party.
While insisting that time was still ripe for consensus on the BBI, Dr Ruto insisted that he was not going to allow himself to be pushed to the No side, a position pro-BBI leaders, he said, had been pushing him to take. “Do not dare us to a contest. We are not interested. They have invited us, dared us and threatened us to a contest. We are saying: No, thank you. We are interested in doing the right thing. Listen to the merit of what we are saying,” he said.
He dismissed as baseless fears that a multiple-choice referendum may likely be too cumbersome for the ordinary voter.
“We should not be scared of what the people will choose because this is their Constitution and this is their country. Those of us who are leaders must not think that we are special. We must not think that the people don’t know. If they did not, they would not have elected us. Give them the opportunity to choose what they want for themselves.”
The DP’s group has demanded a multiple-choice referendum held alongside General Election.