Later, Dr Ruto delivered a lecture on “Kenya’s National Unity and Regional Integration: Challenges of Inclusion, Growth and Change” at Chatham House.
Chatham’s Parliamentary and Media Outreach Assistant, Africa Programme Yusuf Hassan said his talk would “reflect on the challenges of managing change in a diverse country and the outlook ahead for both Kenya and the region.”
In a statement published before the lecture, Chatham House said: “At the national level, estimated GDP growth of 5.9 per cent in 2018 signals Kenya’s diverse economy and integral position within the East African Community (EAC), but concerns have been raised regarding slow progress in reducing the fiscal deficit. With recent calls for a referendum on further constitutional reforms reflecting a divisive issue for many Kenyans, it is critical that the lessons learned from the past decade inform the country’s next steps.”
Delivering his lecture, Dr Ruto said: “The new Constitution has placed emphasis on delivery, implementation and taken away the prerogative powers of the Executive.
“Public participation, especially on matters of national interest, policy making and governance is of paramount importance.
“The recalibration of Government has enhanced efficiency, effectiveness, competent governance and increased legislative output.
“The contest for leadership in Kenya should be about ideas, a tangible track record and ability to transform.
“Fragmented markets in Africa has limited our capability to engage with other trading blocs. The coming together of EAC, Comesa and SADC will allow us to consolidate and deepen intra-Africa trade. The horizon holds much promise.
“In every election, there are winners and losers. That is the principal tenet of democracy. The right to challenge poll outcomes is a right guaranteed under the constitution.
“In pursuing a systematic programme of de-ethnicizing politics and running a competent administration, we have managed to achieve huge transformation.
“The best manifestation of devolution lies in healthcare. For the first time, a caesarian section birth was performed in Mandera; open-heart surgery in Mombasa and a brain surgery in Embu. Before devolution, these services were only possible in Nairobi at great expense.
“The fact that we have registered tremendous successes under the constitution does not mean that any misgivings around some aspects of its architecture are unjustified.
“It is not proper that the leader of a party garnering the second highest votes has no formal constitutional role. The leader of the party which comes second should become the leader of the Opposition.
“Do we have the constitutional moment to prosecute these reforms? Let us put this question in context. Constitutional implementation is still underway, and gradually, we see gains building up.
“Have we reached that moment to say that we have sufficiently tested the full scope of the dispensation, or do we still need time? That is a decision that Kenyans will have to make.”
During his short visit to the UK, the Deputy President met with Secretary of State for the Department for International Development Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for Trade Policy at Department for International Trade George Hollingberry, members of the East Africa Association and UK tour operators.