Nairobi — Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday conceded to Jubilee Party's decision not to field a candidate for upcoming Mswambweni constituency by-elections citing the need to unite the ruling party.
The DP who addressed journalists at Jubilee Party headquarters after holding a meeting with the party's Secretary General Raphael Tuju, however noted that he held a contrary opinion.
"I was of a completely different view that the party fields a candidate in Msambweni. The decision has already been made and we want to make one decision as the party," he said.
He, therefore urged his preferred candidate, Mariam Sharlete, who recently decamped ODM, to seek other avenues to vie for the seat which was declared vacant after ODM MP Suleiman Dori died in March.
"Because we don't have a candidate at Msambweni, we will organise with one of those contesting candidates, if one of them will talk to me nicely I will assist them," the DP added.
The DP also dismissed allegations that there are divisions within the party that may lead to a split noting that the party is expanding.
"With us not fielding a candidate in Msambweni, many people may draw the conclusion that Jubilee is walking away from the stage of fielding a candidate. The party has not been folded, Jubilee is expanding and by not vying in Msambweni, it does not mean the party is shrinking," DP Ruto pointed out.
He reiterated that the party's core principal is to enhance cohesion in the country and bring together all Kenyans from all corners of the country.
Tuju, in a statement to newsrooms, said the ruling party had elected to allow ODM to contest the election unchallenged given the opposition's cooperation with Jubilee in parliament under the Building Bridges Initiative co-headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Leader Raila Odinga.
"With the unprecedented cooperation between Jubilee ad ODM in Parliament in the recent past on matters of national importance and given that this was an ODM seat the decision has been made that Jubilee will not field a candidate in the interest of a bigger picture," Tuju said.
He said the party was also focused on addressing the constitutional crisis triggered by Chief Justice David Maraga's advice to the President to dissolve the Parliament over unattained two-third gender rule.
"The country has very serious constitutional matters to deal with that will require sobriety and reaching across the political divides in order to navigate our beloved country across some of these challenges," the statement read in part.
Tuju said aspirants still interested in vying for the seat could do so using other avenues.
"The announcement has been made in good time so that any aspirant who has interest in a Jubilee ticket has other pathways to running for this seat."