22 May 2018

Kenya: DP Ruto Faces Heat for Calling Odinga an Insincere Dictator

Photo: Facebook
DP William Ruto.

Deputy President William Ruto was on the firing line of opposition leader Raila Odinga's lieutenants, who told him off for criticising the Building Bridges initiative between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, and also for warning that Mr Odinga is a dictator who is not fit to lead the country.

Mr Ruto made the hard-hitting claims on Sunday in Nandi County, and on Monday Mr Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement dismissed the Deputy President as a leader who thrives in politics of lies, commotion, hate, and division, and also asked him to come clean on the "smell of corruption that permanently swirls around him".

In Nairobi, four MPs accused Mr Ruto of blackmailing President Kenyatta and holding the country hostage in his bid to lead the country in 2022, while in Nakuru Jubilee-allied leaders rose to defend the beleaguered Deputy President.

"Mr Ruto should stop looking for enemies in the wrong places," Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan said at Mr Odinga's Capitol Hill office in Nairobi. "What stands between him and the Presidency is not Mr Odinga; it is his character, his bad record in office, and the perceptions of the general public."

PEACE AND PROSPERITY

The conference was attended by Ms Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Ms Florence Mutua (Busia), Mr Anthony Oluoch (Mathare) and ANC Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi.

And at Mahero Primary School in Alego Usonga, ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna led a group of party legislators in condemning Mr Ruto for "leading the country away from peace and prosperity" in what is emerging as the re-enactment of the bitter political war the two leaders fought during the grand coalition government of Mr Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki.

Mr Sifuna, whose sentiments were backed by Alego Usonga MP Sam Atandi, faulted the DP for leading an onslaught against President Kenyatta and Raila Odinga's resolve to unite the country.

"We will not be distracted by the voices that have always opposed reforms in this country," Mr Sifuna said.

"Mr Ruto's outburst against Mr Odinga is not surprising because he is threatened by reforms to expand the democratic space, freedoms, and end impunity and tribalism."

CAREER DOOMED

Mr Atandi said the DP's political ship sank the day President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga signed their agreement, and warned that, no matter how much Mr Ruto disparages the ODM leader, his political career is doomed.

"We know he wants to become President in 2022; I want to remind him the history of this country is clear. Vice Presidents never become president here, save for Daniel arap Moi, so he must know 2022 will not be an easy year for him," said Mr Atandi.

But, speaking in Nakuru, Jubilee MPs led by David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East) and his Nakuru Town West counterpart Samuel Arama said ODM had started interfering with Jubilee's development agenda, and vowed to support Mr Ruto's 2022 bid.

They said they will support a motion in the National Assembly that will seek to lock out those aged 70 years and above from contesting for Presidency to block Mr Odinga, who is aged 73, from vying.

In Nairobi, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa said Mr Odinga should remain true to the spirit of reconciliation, and do so without political brinkmanship and deceit.

"He owes it to Kenyans since he has played a pivotal role in the political and ethnic divisions Kenya has experienced over the years as they have all revolved around his raw and unchecked ambition for power," said Mr Ichung'wa, adding that the ODM leader has deployed "his battery of blind puppets to accuse others".

NATIONAL UNIFIER

During the meeting in Nandi on Sunday, Mr Ruto disparaged the peace pact between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga on March 9, saying it was billed as the greatest national unifier yet the country needs honesty and sincerity more.

"The biggest threat to our democracy, our progress and stability is people who have questionable democratic credentials; dictators who participate in elections and yet they do not accept the outcome of any election," said Mr Ruto.

However, ODM leaders, who interpreted this as a jibe against Mr Odinga since he has contested the results of several elections, said Mr Ruto was just an angry and bitter man who is frustrated after being left out of the peace pact, and that Kenya will not be held back by the rabid ambitions of one man.

"Mr Ruto has the exclusive distinction of being the only politician who is starting the race for the presidency of Kenya with hostages," said Ms Mutua, the Busia Woman Representative. "The DP and the cohort of politicians who are paid to speak at his rallies are hostage takers."

She said the DP and his allies are blackmailing President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya that if Mr Ruto does not succeed Mr Kenyatta, there will be ethnic tensions and possible conflict in Rift Valley post-2022.

Reporting by Ibrahim Oruko, Justus Ochieng and Magdalene Wanja

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