Ruto takes on Uhuru in Msambweni by-election
In a clear act of defiance, Deputy President William Ruto yesterday signalled that he would field a candidate in the Msambweni by-election despite a decision by his Jubilee Party that it would not participate in the mini-poll.
Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju on Wednesday indicated that the party would support the candidate of the Orange Democratic Movement for the seat left vacant following the death of Suleiman Dori.
But in a dramatic turn of events, Ruto who attended the press conference at which the decision was reached and declared that he had accepted the party position, yesterday met a candidate who intends to vie for the post as an independent.
The move is likely to put Ruto on a collision course with his boss and Jubilee Party leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Met an aspirant for Msambweni Parliamentary seat Feisal Abdallah Bader in company of Coast MPs Athman Shariff (Lamu East), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) at Karen,” he posted on the social media platforms.
Soi MP Caleb Kositany, the spokesman of the Ruto camp, yesterday declared that they will not support the ODM candidate in the election.
“There are many candidates that we are looking at. Certainly, you should know that we will have one that we will be supporting and that candidate will definitely not be the ODM one,” said Kositany.
Kositany said Jubilee members had been given the green light to support a candidate of their choice because their party has made it clear that it will not be fielding one.
Ruto’s attempt to field a candidate in the election was thwarted after Tuju on Wednesday issued a statement stating the party position while the Deputy President was on his way to the Jubilee Party headquarters on Thika Road in Nairobi.
The clearly disappointed Ruto, who was accompanied by Sharlet Mariam Akinyi who was set to submit papers as the Jubilee candidate, revealed that he was of “a different opinion” but had to comply with the party position.
The DP, while addressing the media after meeting Tuju, said the Msambweni debacle will be the last one to happen and that in future the party will field candidates in all elections.
“I want to assure our supporters that the party is not folding. We have accepted the party decision but in the coming days this will not happen and we will field candidates. This is probably the last time,” Ruto said.
Kositany however read mischief in the move by Tuju, saying it was intended to belittle the DP.
“As you saw yesterday, they tried to pre-empt us and that is why that statement was issued before (Ruto arrived). But it is okay we agree with them and we will support whoever we want,” said Kositany.
Three candidates in the polls have made dramatic defections from their parties.
Sharlet who had from the start announced she would contest the eat on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket resigned from the party a few days after Opposition leader Raila Odinga made a visit to Diani within the county.
During Raila’s visit, Sharlet was among the ODM delegates who welcomed him and attended a closed-door meeting at the Jacaranda hotel.
Come Monday and Sharlet made a dramatic defection from the party through a letter addressed to the party’s National Election Board informing them of her decision to resign from the party.
“After consultations with my team I would wish to resign as a member of ODM and that I will not vie for Msambweni constituency parliamentary seat on ODM ticket,” she stated.