Deputy President William Ruto has told those in power to operate within the law in a message that appeared tailored for his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Everybody who is entrusted with leadership must work within the dictates of the law and follow the Constitution,” Ruto said when he met political, religious and community leaders from Uhuru’s Kiambu backyard.
Leaders present during the fellowship meeting included MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) and George Kariuki (Ndia).
Ruto’s remarks come at a time when the President has come under fire for refusing to appoint six judges whom State House insists have queries on their suitability.
The DP said leaders must adhere to the rule of law and stop pushing for amendment of the Constitution to fit their desires.
He said where the interests of those in power are in conflict with the Constitution, it is the desires of the leaders that must be aligned to the law and not vice versa.
“The power donated by Kenyans and exercised by leaders should be in adherence to the rule of law. There are those who still believe that if their desires are in conflict with the Constitution, then the Constitution should be changed to fit into their agenda,” Ruto said at his official Karen residence on Thursday.
“If your desires conflict with the Constitution, it’s the desires to be changed to adhere to the Constitution not the Constitution being changed to suit selfish interest of an individual.”
During the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu, Ruto also rooted for what he termed strong institutions.
He called for “a robust Legislature, a performing Executive and an independent Judiciary ”.
He went on: “It will be an act of great betrayal if we let ethnic bigotry and personality cults to destroy the firm foundation of constitutionalism and the rule of law in our nation.”
President Uhuru and his handshake partner Raila Odinga are seeking to amend the 2010 Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiate, a process that the High Court has declared unconstitutional, null and void.
Uhuru and Raila have since appealed the ruling and the case is set for hearing at the Court of Appeal at the end of this month.
During the Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu, the President criticised the five-judge bench of the High Court for ruling against the BBI process, saying the amendments which among other things could see the expansion of the Executive and Parliament are all for the good of the country.
Uhuru has lately suffered losses in court after some of his decisions were found to have been executed without following the law.
This week, former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and his predecessor David Maraga in a sequel of hard-hitting remarks blasted Uhuru for violating the Constitution.
Maraga had on Wednesday said Uhuru’s disobedience of courts had reached unprecedented levels which if unrestrained could trigger anarchy and herald an era of impunity.
Mutunga had a day earlier accused the President of abusing his presidential authority, terming his exercise of power egregious, reckless and insensitive.
On Thursday, the Deputy President explained that Kenya was past the era when those in power would abuse the Constitution and the institutions created by it to drive their agenda.
“There is a fundamental ideological difference between those of us who believe that the problem of Kenya is an economic problem that requires a national economic transformation movement that ensures that every opportunity is created for every citizen to either get a job or build enterprise so that we can grow bigger corporations from micro-enterprises,” he said.
“Our competitors believe that our problem is ethnic and we should solve it using ethnic parties, create positions so that ethnic leaders can be satisfied. We believe differently –that every Kenyan matters,” he said.