Ruto commits to ensuring peaceful August 9 elections
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday assured Kenyans of his commitment to a peaceful August 9 presidential election and challenged his rival in the race Raila Odinga to declare his stand on the matter.
Speaking in Njoro, Ruto, who is flying the Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential flag in the State House race, said peace and stability are important ingredients for the country to achieve its development goals.
Noting that Kenya Kwanza advocates peaceful elections and political tolerance, Ruto cited the Sunday incident at Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi where his convoy was pelted with stones and other projectiles by rowdy youth chanting ODM slogans.
Ruto, who is making his first stab at the presidency, said this was a sign Raila was not committed to peaceful elections, noting that he has faced violent reception only in Raila’s strongholds.
He was responding to locals who expressed fears over an outbreak of electoral violence in the country and ethnic clashes, particularly in the Rift Valley.
Ruto said his competitors were hellbent on causing violence “because they have nothing new to offer Kenyans”.
“Because they have no agenda and track record, they are busy selling fear to our people but we will work round the clock to ensure that the enemies of our people do not succeed,” he said. He warned Raila that he would be held accountable for any election violence in the country.
“Of course against the background of what happened yesterday, Kenyans legitimately get concerned when they see organised chaos targeting certain leaders,” he said, adding that Kenya Kwanza was committed to peaceful coexistence.
He said he expected Raila Odinga to condemn the violence that greeted him in Kisumu last year and at Embakasi East last Sunday but he instead ridiculed him and his team.
Ruto who was accompanied by his deputy designate Rigathi Gachagua and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika who is vying for the governorship seat on the UDA ticket urged Raila to accept the outcome of the elections.
“They’re already throwing stones, who knows, maybe this is what they will do on August 9,” he said.
Challenged by locals
Ruto was taken to task by locals who asked him to assure them of their security as the country heads into the General Election.
“We already fear for our security. There is fear that violence might break out as usual and we want to say something about it today,” said Susan Wanjiku from Njoro.
Local Kikuyu Council of elders chairman John Mwatha said residents were genuinely concerned with the rising political temperatures in the country.
Earlier, Kenya Kwanza leaders appealed to Kenyans to rally behind the Hustler Nation saying it was the only political formation with a people-centred agenda.
Ford Kenya Party leader Moses Wetangula called on Kenya Kwanza leaders and their supporters to work together to ensure they win the August polls to make the bottom-up economic model a reality.
He said: “Let us work together to form the government so that we can realise our goals, without the government our goals will remain a pipe dream.”
They spoke at Ruto’s official residence during a consultative meeting with grassroots leaders from Nairobi County.
ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi urged Kenyans to support Kenya Kwanza Alliance because it was focused on addressing the immediate needs of ordinary citizens. He said: “The season for ODM is over, it’s time to move on. This time round we are behind Dr Ruto”
Meanwhile, Kenya Kwanza is set to return to Coast for a charm offensive seeking to secure a stranglehold of the region’s significant vote bloc.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leaders in Mombasa said Ruto will hold a rally at Tononoka Grounds on Saturday.
While addressing a media briefing at the UDA headquarters in Mombasa, the leaders claimed they have acquired a permit to hold a rally. They said that the DP is expected to tour the Coast from Thursday.
Former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar and Nyali MP Mohamed Ali cautioned opponents against planning to disrupt the rally. Yesterday Omar said the rally will be a platform for the DP to speak to the people of the Coast.
Additional reporting by Harrison Kivisu and Gloria Sande