DP Ruto laughs off unity parleys as inconsequential
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday dismissed ongoing talks by his competitors to form a broader-based coalition to face him in next year’s General Election.
Ruto said talks led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga under the stewardship of President Uhuru Kenyatta do not worry him at all.
The second-in-command described the talks by Raila, Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) and his Baringo counterpart Gideon Moi of Kanu as inconsequential as far as his candidature is concerned.
The leaders, with the backing of Uhuru and his confidants, have been holding unity talks as they seek to cobble an alliance, and field one candidate in 2022.
Their move has been seen as a deliberate effort to tame Ruto to ensure he does not succeed his boss, with whom he has fallen out with over Uhuru’s replacement.
But Ruto who spoke yesterday at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Gatina in Kawangware, Nairobi said the planned formation by the Opposition leaders was a selfish move aimed at seeking positions in government and not about the welfare of Kenyans.
“There are so many threats. You can see how men have ganged up but I have told them they can continue to gang up but we have God and we will face off with you because we will not accept that Kenya will be a country of minding the welfare of leaders and how they will share and how they will get positions.
This time round, there will be a different debate where even the common persons will be counted and considered,” Ruto told the congregants.
Last week, Uhuru hosted the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) boss, Raila, Musalia, Kalonzo, Wetangula, Moi and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya in Mombasa as part of the efforts to reunite the Nasa team, with sources indicating that the president has settled on backing Raila, and wants the other leaders coalescing around One Kenya Alliance (OKA) to also back him.
Several other talks have been happening behind the scenes in the last couple of months, even as it emerged that the OKA camp has remained adamant, insisting that Raila should quit the race and instead back them.
But instead of focusing on power sharing, Ruto told the leaders to channel their energies to improving the livelihood of their people at the bottom of the pyramid to ensure they get equal opportunities.
“The stability of a nation, the unity of the nation is going to be meaningful if the conversation is not about leaders and how they are going to share positions and how they are going to share power.
It is going to be informed by a conversation that will enable those who are jobless, those who have no business, the hustling mama mbogas and the hustling farmers to have them be part of the equation economically so that we can create prosperity that creates and equal society and creates equal opportunity,” he said.
He added: “Some people have ganged up to say that this Ruto has introduced a debate on the common man’s interests, that he is inciting the low-class people but I want to tell them to sort themselves out because this time round we will have the debate of the low class.”
The DP has been marketing the hustler and wheelbarrow movements, which he claims are meant to mind the welfare of the low-class people but his critics have termed it as a retrogressive approach to boost the country’s economy.
His opponents also claim it was hypocritical of him to run such programme yet he has been a Deputy President for the last nine years.
OKA principals are set to meet Raila to choose a flag bearer for the 2022 General Election after a caucus in Naivasha that starts this morning.
Allies close to OKA principals said President Uhuru Kenyatta made the group agree to meet this week as a follow-up meeting after the Mombasa meeting ended in a stalemate.
ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula intimated the aim of the meeting was to discuss pressing national issues.
The OKA members including party leaders Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Moi and their Ford Kenya counterpart Wetangula are slated to attend the meeting.
Kalonzo is on a four-day trip to Turkey, and was set to arrive in the country yesterday in preparation for the meeting.
A member of the technical team organising the meeting said groundwork has already been laid ahead of the crucial meeting.