Kenyan newspapers are best known for adding “salt” to stories and this could be one of them. But should it turn out to be true then it should come as a blessing to the republic of Kenya. Kenyans have a chance of dealing these murderers a fatal blow once and for all. Read on…
By Standard Reporters
NAIROBI, KENYA: United Republican Party presidential aspirant William Ruto is sitting on a secret his party colleagues won’t let him disclose.
That is what happened yesterday at a URP press conference when the leaders led by party chairman Francis ole Kaparo just wouldn’t let Ruto, whose word journalists wanted to hear on the carrot dangled before him by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, take the microphone. But what exactly is it that URP leaders would not want to let out? Sources in the party say it is that a deal has been struck with Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance to fight for president on a common platform in the March 4 elections.
But what also emerged was that Ruto is keen to first ensure that he wins his Kalenjin community to Uhuru’s side before the deal is unmasked.
Party sources say Ruto playing second fiddle to Uhuru won’t go well with his community, and that is why they first need to prepare the electorate to buy in the idea that since both leaders face the same fate at The Hague, it is prudent they put up a joint assault.
However, from our enquiries, there is a slight problem: Raila’s meeting with a section of Kalenjin and Maasai leaders in Nakuru on Monday where statements to the effect that Uhuru can’t be trusted and Raila could be a safer bet for the community is what is said to have unsettled Ruto and his team.
This also led to the resolve that the deal is kept guarded until an opportune time when sufficient ‘marketing’ for it would have been done in areas where URP considers its strongholds.
The second factor is said to be curiosity by Ruto’s team on what deal Uhuru and Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa’s New Ford-Kenya would sign tomorrow. Wamalwa was the first to be touted as Uhuru’s running mate and indeed played a crucial role during the launch of his TNA.
It is the contest for Rift Valley with Raila, who sources in ODM reveal has given up on Ruto and is keen on directly engaging the Kalenjin community that takes the two rivals to the province for heated campaigns.
Even though Raila had attempted to reach out to URP aspirant for a pre-election pact, statements by Ruto and Uhuru’s allies suggest the deal between the two is done.
“The deal is almost done. We are just fine-tuning the details before we officially sign the agreement. We want to make sure that everything is tight so that we are not short-changed once we form the government,” said an MP, who is a top URP official yesterday after the party meeting.
On Monday Cabinet Minister Naomi Shaban, who is a mutual friend of both leaders, declared Ruto would be Uhuru’s running mate.
Dr Shaban announced it was almost clear Uhuru would be seeking the presidency, while Ruto would be his running mate, as they face off with Raila.
In response to the unfolding scenario, Raila has decided to reach the Kalenjin like he did in early 2007. Ruto backed Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, but when it became clear to him Raila was more popular in the Rift Valley, he changed tact.
Raila will be in Eldoret, the bedrock of Ruto’s political support as a follow-up of the meeting he had this week with a section of Kalenjin leaders in Nakuru, drawn from six counties in the South and Central Rift.
But as Raila prepares to go to Ruto’s base, URP yesterday declared a series of rallies spread over four days in the Rift Valley. Organisers privately concede the rallies are meant to reverse whatever gains Raila may have got, as well as calming the communities there over the suspicion, which Uhuru-Ruto alliance has stirred.
The URP team made sure its rallies end on Monday, when Raila gets into Eldoret, and are believed to be also called to divert attention from the PM’s apology to the Kalenjin community for perceived ills against them.
The rallies by both sides of the supremacy war in Rift region occupied by the Kalenjin, which in 2007 voted Raila almost to a man, is also spiced by the fact that whereas Ruto is perceived to be the de facto leader, the emerging possibility that he won’t be running for president, has re-opened the community’s vote-basket for other aspirants.
In Nakuru the elders Raila met explicitly asked him to continue talks with Ruto, with a rider that if he did not play along, then he gets back to them. It was not specified what would then follow even though they openly declared they prefer a deal with PM than with “those people from Mount Kenya’’.
“Ruto has made up his mind, but from the sentiments of the elders in Nakuru, he, too, will have to put up a fight to get his community to support Uhuru. That is why Raila has decided to engage the voters from this region directly at the grassroots, and through opinion leaders such as the elders he met,’’ revealed a source within Raila campaign team.
“On Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday we will be in the Rift Valley. We shall pitch tent in various regions, including Nandi and Kericho,” announced Dujis MP Aden Duale.
An attempt by journalists to get Ruto’s comments on Raila’s apology to the Kalenjin community and his willingness for a reunion with him was resisted by Kaparo, Environment Minister, Chirau Ali Mwakere, and Duale.
Ruto left without uttering a word as the MPs exchanged words with journalists who insisted he had to comment. “What the Prime Minister said in Nakuru was directed to a community and URP is not a community, it is a national political party,” maintained Duale.
Kaparo and Mwakere insisted Ruto was a leader of ‘a mass movement’ and would not be reduced to an ethnic spokesman.
During the meeting Information Minister Samwel Poghisio officially left Wiper Democratic Movement for URP. The leaders also received a number of ODM councillors from Garisa County.
However, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto who arrived for the National Executive Committee meeting after the charged press conference maintained they would not be enticed by Raila’s apology.
He laughed it off as a political gimmick meant to woo back the Kalenjin vote.
Isaac Ruto insisted Raila could not be trusted with the presidency, and challenged him to back either Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi or Ruto for president.
Yesterday, the URP leaders infuriated by constitutional commissions closing ranks to vet candidates despite Parliament having removed this requirement warned those behind the initiative of the folly of assigning themselves new roles.
“There is nowhere in the Constitution that brings together amalgamation of commissions. So if they are creating an amorphous body of different commissions, then as a party that believes in the rule of law, we are saying you are bringing a culture of impunity,” said Dualle.