Showdown: Ruto dares Uhuru, Raila to a duel - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 9 January 2021

Showdown: Ruto dares Uhuru, Raila to a duel


Emboldened by the disquiet about the BBI in Mt Kenya and his Msambweni by-election victory, Deputy President William Ruto has set his eyes on the presidency.

Ruto and his troops have since unveiled the wheelbarrow party – United Democratic Alliance – as their political vehicle for 2022.

The DP and his allies are no longer begging for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s support, with 18 months left to the polls.

In fact, they are daring the President and his handshake partner ODM leader Raila Odinga for a showdown in several by-elections to test their 2022 mettle.

On Friday, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said they are not afraid of anyone.  

“We have a candidate here [for Nairobi governor] we win or we lose but let us not bend the rules so that we dodge elections,” he said.

Ruto will also sponsor candidates for MP in Kabuchai and Matungu, and for the Senate seat in Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s Machakos ‘bedroom’.

Former Machakos Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala, a close ally of ex-Senator Johnson Muthama, will fly the UDA flag.

Murkomen spoke as the Ruto wing of Jubilee officially unveiled UDA in Nairobi Friday, with an exodus from the ruling party expected soon.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika described the party headed by Muthama as a political machine that transcends regions.

“We shall talk to fellow Kenyans and tell them that we have found a home, a home without disrespect,” Kihika said.

After his Msambweni win, Ruto appears to have found new admirers.

Already, Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura has decamped from Uhuru’s side and joined Ruto’s.

Former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjru is unveiled on Friday as the UDA flagbearer for the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election.
Former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjru is unveiled on Friday as the UDA flagbearer for the Nairobi gubernatorial by-election.

With the party launch coming days after Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata warned Uhuru that BBI risks spectacular failure in the region, the DP has shown he might bolt the Jubilee stable.

During a meeting in Embu on Wednesday, Ruto said he “doesn’t understand BBI issues … the campaign has its owners”.

“I understand development and that is what I will discuss,” the DP said.

Ruto has been flip-flopping on the BBI and previously told his troops he cannot lead a No campaign against his boss.

This could change with a new poll released on Friday indicating that the vote could be defeated.

A survey by Tifa shows that 32 per cent of Kenyans would vote 'NO' to shoot down the plebiscite.

“Because there is a lot of work, I asked to help the President deal with issues like electricity, roads and water. Let the others deal with the BBI,” Ruto said in Embu

But ODM chairman John Mbadi dismissed the DP, saying Ruto "should stop thinking he owns the country".

He said Kenyans have allowed Ruto to get away with many lies.

"It is us to blame. Like Americans made Donald Trump, we are equally making Ruto with his outrageous ideas. How can a whole Deputy President talk [like that] about a process [BBI] he was part of from the beginning? Does he want to tell us that the President lied when he said he was involved?" the Suba South MP asked.

"It is pitiful we have a Deputy President who can talk this carelessly. Why would he want to bore us with juvenile talk? If he can’t support or oppose [the BBI] let him keep quiet.”

Soy MP Caleb Kositany, a key Ruto ally, said they would no longer entertain the intolerance they have suffered in the ruling party.

“We are in a year when everyone will be saving their career. This will be a year of mass movements and defections,” the lawmaker said.

He said the BBI drive was never a Jubilee agenda.

“It is another person’s baby and we will allow them to bring up their baby. Ours is development as we promised when we were being re-elected. Votes in 2022 will be based on one’s development track record and not on drive to change the Constitution,” Kositany added.

“You can see BBI is already facing serious challenges. We have left it to them…let them take it to the people to decide the fate of BBI. We’ll let them run with their baby.”

Manyatta MP John Muchiri backed Ruto, expressing concerns the government was determined to have a costly referendum amid the country’s economic turmoil.

He said it does not make sense to spend Sh14 billion on a referendum in less than three years after the country went into two elections in 2017.

“The country is experiencing massive challenges never seen before; there is no money for teachers, doctors and the Covid-19 has brought the country’s economy to its knees. We must ask ourselves tough questions; where are we heading to?” he said.

The MP said President Kenyatta and Raila can get MCAs to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020, but will face the wrath of Kenyans at the ballot.

“They can have the signatures; they can even manipulate 24 county assemblies to get the simple majority but let them know Kenyans will have their way during voting day,” he said.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech said: “The President is being held hostage by Raila who wants to use BBI referendum as a stepping stone to State House.”

Koech told the Star by phone that if indeed the President was committed to the document, he should have implemented those that do not require law change.

“This country is chocking on debts, government is borrowing to pay loans and some people are bullishly telling us we spend Sh14 billion on the referendum,” he said.

“For once as Kenyans, let us put aside our politics and think about the implications of what is being pushed.

“These people have sweetened this BBI in an attempt to appeal to as many people as possible but it is a serpent covered in sheepskin.”

There is nothing good about it as the conceivers are using it to preserve power, he said.

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