Ruto criticises Raila choice for DP, plan to change Constitution
Deputy President William Ruto accompanied by running-mate Rigathi Gachagua yesterday led the Kenya Kwanza Coalition team campaigns in Kajiado county where they took a swipe at Azimio la Umoja presidential aspirant Raila Odinga and his designated principal assistant Martha Karua.
Speaking at public rallies in Ongata Rongai, Kiserian and Ngong towns, Ruto urged Kajiado residents to support his presidential bid saying during his tenure in leadership he worked with President Uhuru Kenyatta and helped improved infrastructure, and education and successfully facilitated rural electrification programme to 130,000 households from the previous 40,000 households.
He also welcomed Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s decision to quit Azimio La Umoja-Kenya Alliance.
Kalonzo said he would be running for president and unveiled publisher Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate.
“You have seen One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders have walked away,” said Ruto. The DP claimed that the first priority given to Karua if Raila wins will be to facilitate constitutional amendments.
“My DP’s role is clear and I want to emphasise it once more. Gachagua’s priority is to spur economic growth. Karua’s first assignment she must deliver is to change the Constitution of Kenya. The power-sharing deal is the first and only priority our competitors have,” said Ruto.
The DP said his government will prioritise and spur economic growth to improve the livelihoods of ordinary Kenyans eking a living from casual jobs and empowering small-scale traders to expand their business.
Gachagua claimed that Karua cannot deliver Mt Kenya votes because Kenyans have made a decision to support Ruto.
“Our President, who I have much respect for, failed to influence us to leave the DP’s camp,’’ said Gachagua, emphasising that the task would be much harder for Karua.“When she comes here, will you tell her that you already made up your mind?” he asked the crowd.
ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi said Kenya Kwanza will win in the first round by a big margin. “Expect more defections,” said Mudavadi.
Elsewhere, a cross-section of leaders in Kakamega yesterday reacted to the appointment of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as Ruto’s running mate.
Leaders allied to Azimio-One Kenya Alliance yesterday faulted the move while their Kenya Kwanza counterparts hailed it.
Khwisero MP Christopher Aseka laughed off the nomination, saying it was a clear indicator that Luhyas did not have any stake in Kenya Kwanza.
“It is now clear that Ruto wants to govern for 10 years then hand over power back to Central Kenya. Where does that leave my senior brother Musalia Mudavadi?” he posed.
His sentiments were echoed by Azimio governor candidate Fernandes Barasa, who wondered how Luhyas stood to gain in a would-be Ruto administration.
“Kenya Kwanza is about two communities while Azimio stands for all Kenyans. We have been warning our brothers and sisters but I am happy that we have been vindicated,” he added.
They noted that the ultimatum that Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula delivered 70 per cent of the Luhya votes in the August 9 elections was untenable.
“Kenya Kwanza won’t even manage five per cent of the Luhya vote, whether in Western, Rift Valley, Nairobi or anywhere else,” said Lugari MP Ayub Savula.
But their counterparts allied to Kenya Kwanza were of a contrary opinion.
Led by Senator Cleophas Malalah and his predecessor Boni Khalwale, the leaders said they were comfortable in the Ruto-led coalition.
“When you hear them criticising Rigathi’s nomination you can think their presidential candidate has settled on a Luhya as his running-mate,” Khalwale said.