•Ruto tried to give an analogy as he referred to ODM leader Raila Odinga and his love for football. •He asked, “How fair is a game where the referee is appointed by teams, and not just teams, but specific teams.”
DP William Ruto speaks during the launch of BBI Report at Bomas of Kenya on October 26, 2020. Image: ANDREW KASUKU
Deputy President William on Monday endured jeers at the Bomas of Kenya during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative report. His speech had an anti-climax with the crowd chanting, “Respect the President”. The second in command tried to calm the crowd, saying he was about to finish, adding he had listened to other views and he should be listened to, but the delegates at Bomas would hear none of it. Initially, when Ruto took to the podium, he expressed his reservations against the BBI report, saying it has many issues which should be reviewed. The DP initially said the proposal on the establishment of the office of Ombudsman, which will be appointed by the Executive is a derogation of the independence of the Judiciary. Ruto said that this might take the country back to the dark days, where the president used to issue guidelines to judges in some cases via a mere phone call. He said that majority of Kenyans are still struggling to access justice, and that some matters are yet to be handled as per the Constitution. “We need to operationalise the Judiciary fund that is already in the Constitution so that the Judiciary can establish more courts, hire more judges and more staff so that more Kenyans can have access to justice,” Ruto said. Regarding the suggested establishment of the office of the Ombudsman, Ruto said that it will interfere with the judicial performance as well as its independence. “On the matter of the judiciary allow me to say that there is a huge space to have an improvement on the proposal that has been made… Having an ombudsman appointed by the Executive into the Judiciary is a derogation from the independence of the institution.” Ruto tried to give an analogy as he referred to ODM leader Raila Odinga and his love for football. He asked, “How fair is a game where the referee is appointed by teams, and not just teams, but specific teams.” However, Raila appeared unbothered as he looked away.