Deputy President Ruto back on trail amid coalition talk

Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 00:00 | By
Deputy President William Ruto addresses a crowd at Kachibora, Cherang’any in Trans Nzoia county. Photo/DPPS

David Musundi and Jeremiah Kiplang’at

Deputy President William Ruto returned to the campaign trail yesterday painting his main opponent in the coming elections Raila Odinga as a State project. 

Following up on a script that began late last year, Ruto urged Kenyans to be wary of leaders who were being imposed on them by “political brokers in Nairobi.”

 Speaking on a tour of Trans Nzoia County, Ruto claimed Raila had been cherry-picked to serve the selfish interests of wealthy individuals who are against economic transformation.

 “We won’t allow the country to be micromanaged by a few individuals yet Kenyans have the democratic right to decide their leaders in a competitive electoral process,” he spoke at Kachibora in Cherang’any constituency.

 The move to present Raila as a State project is one of the strategies the DP is pursuing as the country enters the campaigns homestretch.

Ruto’s team has also been keen to present Raila as a candidate who cannot be trusted to keep promises following the extinction of the National Super Alliance (NASA) after the ‘Handshake’ between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta in March 2018. 

Yesterday, Ruto also accused key handlers in government of betrayal following their open support for Raila yet he played an instrumental role in the formation of the Jubilee government in both the 2013 and 2017 General Elections.

“Kenyans are more interested in ideologies on how the economy can be revived instead of political endorsements that only seek to benefit a few individuals who are after positions and not service,” said the DP.

 The DP addressed rallies at Kesogon, Endebess, Kimondo, Kitalelale, Waitaluk and Sikhendu where he made stop overs while giving United Democratic Alliance (UDA) aspirants a chance to sell their ideologies.

 Ruto spoke as it emerged that he was preparing for serious talks with potential coalition partners after softening his hardline stance on the mushrooming of small parties ahead of this year’s elections.

 In a clear admission that he would consider forming coalitions with key political figures ahead of the election, the DP revealed that the alliance he is looking forward to building before the August polls will be driven by honesty and honourable treatment of partners.

 While dismissing the ongoing efforts to amend the Political Parties Act to largely enable coalitions to field candidates in the coming polls, the DP said political partners need not go to the extent of enacting laws to show they trusted each other.

 “I don’t know how we can legislate honesty into the law. It is the biggest indictment on leaders that their word means nothing.

I’m ready to keep my word with any coalition partner that we will get. We do not need to pass the law. We will keep our word because we are honourable and honest people,” the DP said.

Rigid stance

 Ruto came under immense pressure towards the end of last year to drop his rigid stance on forming a coalition after insisting for the better part of the year that his party UDA would solely participate in the elections.

 Initial partners like former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria fell out with the DP after insisting on working with him without folding their parties, The Service Party (TSP) and Chama Cha Kazi (CCK) respectively.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo and Pokot South MP David Pkosing have also bolted from the DP’s camp after forming their outfit, Kenya Union Party (KUP).

Pkosing recently told People Daily they did not want to be herded in a single party. He said they decided to join Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja movement after being assured they would not be forced to fold KUP to be part of it.

 With eight months to go, Ruto appears to have beaten a retreat and invited for talks those willing to form coalition with him.

 Sources said the DP was contemplating formally approaching One Kenya Alliance leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula to join him although those who spoke to People Daily said there was nothing formal between the trio yet.  

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