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Ruto has a right to his own opinions.

The belief that a referendum to review the Constitution will be a showdown between the Building Bridges Initiative backed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, and Deputy President William Ruto is a misconception and cannot go unchallenged.

The Constitution is the highest law in the land and is a contribution of all Kenyans, not individual or institution thinking.

It is therefore misleading for such a reputable newspaper as the Star to report that the inevitable referendum will be a litmus test between supporters of the BBI and Punguza Mizigo, and opposers.

The BBI task force has just concluded collecting views from Kenyans and it will have to compile and table a report to be either accepted or rejected by Kenyans in a referendum.

We are in a democratic country and every Kenyan is constitutionally entitled to his or her own opinion, especially on such weighty issues as law making. It is however, perplexing that some individuals have misconstrued the calls for constitutional amendments through a referendum to be a political succession war, even invoking DP Ruto's name where not necessary.

Like every other Kenyan, DP Ruto has his own personal opinions on matters such as constitutional review and the views expressed by his supporters, irrespective of their positions, are not necessarily his.

As much as media houses have a right to inform and educate Kenyans on topical issues, they should not misinterpret facts or an individual's opinion. The DP should be consulted in the event that his personal opinion on calls for a referendum or constitutional review is required.

Constitutional review is not a thinking process by some individuals on behalf of others. It's prudent that in the event of a referendum the views of every Kenyan are taken into consideration.

The process need not open a political can of worms. The Constitution means the lives of Kenyans and not a short process to gain political mileage.

It is therefore fair that the Deputy President is also given a chance to express his own personal opinion on such a weighty matter instead of misconstruing his allies' opinions to be his.

As much as media houses have a right to inform and educate Kenyans on topical issues, they should not misinterpret facts or an individual's opinion. The DP should be consulted in the event that his personal opinion on calls for a referendum or constitutional review is required.

The country is not in a political war, where a referendum on the Constitution would trigger 'political fights'. Big names or entities make big news but the information put out there needs to be factual to win the trust of leaders.

The headline 'Ruto allies plot to scuttle Uhuru-Raila referendum', which depicts that the impending referendum or calls for referendum on constitution review will be a political test between the Deputy President against the BBI, which has received the support of the President and Odinga among others, is indeed misleading.

It is prudent that Kenyans, including leaders such as Dr Ruto, are allowed to digest the findings on the BBI report before declaring their stand. Everyone's opinion on and after the BBI report is crucial in determining what need not or ought to be done with the Constitution.

Issues affecting Kenyans need not always be politicised, invoking names of senior political personalities to gain attention or sell publications.

What Kenyans need are facts and everyone, irrespective of positions, has a constitutional right to make his or her independent opinion on such weighty matters.

It is pointless to have flashy headlines with little or no content for this is taking readers for a ride. What is required is detailed informative and educational information that can guide and shape opinions on topical current affairs.

Journalism is all about professionalism and each media house has its own style of presenting information, but it all boils down to facts and not mere opinions that hold no water.

It was particularly wrong and unprofessionalism of the Star to narrowly interpret comments by some MPs to be those of the Deputy President.

The newspaper therefore erred by coming up with an outrageous and flashy headline with no content, thus creating panic and confusion among Jubilee supporters.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Aug 15, 2019
Words:779
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