Mathew Ndung’u, Oliver Musembi and Harrison Kivisu @PeopleDailyKe
The hitherto political conflict between Deputy President William Ruto and Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s camps yesterday escalated, with Jubilee MPs telling off the latter over his criticism of Ruto’s presidential ambitions.
Responding to Raila’s warning to Ruto on his early presidential campaigns, the leaders who spoke in the presence of the DP told the former PM to keep off Jubilee affairs because he is not their spokesman.
Three governors — Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) — and more than 10 legislators described Raila as a “leader with bad manners” and told him to stop arrogating himself the duty to speak for Jubilee.
They were speaking yesterday at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) and St Benedict’s Catholic Church in Thika, Kiambu county, where Ruto attended a Sunday church service.
The leaders, most of who have been lukewarm to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila’s handshake, accused the Nasa leader of insincerity claiming he is on a mission to wreck Jubilee the way he has done to the Opposition parties he has been in.
But Ruto refrained from responding to Raila’s remarks with a veiled attack on 2022 presidential hopefuls and premature campaigns.
Instead, the DP, whose forays into Raila’s strongholds, especially in the Coast region, said he will continue building unity and development bridges for the betterment of citizens’ livelihoods.
On Saturday, Raila, while dismissing Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, said it was inconsequential for anyone to start engaging in campaigns when there is no vacuum in the Office of the President.
He repeated the remarks yesterday in Mombasa during an Eid Baraza saying the DP was moving from one place to another dishing out money for “projects” but termed it a political campaign strategy.
“Stop going here and there making declarations that you will be the next President. How do you know?” Raila posed.
The Nasa leader, on the other hand, said he and Uhuru would not hesitate to implement proposals by the National Steering Committee on peace building and conflict management on whichever course.
Raila also criticised those opposed to constitutional changes, saying if the committee proposed it, nobody will stop the country from going for a referendum.
In Kiambu, Kindiki, the Senate Deputy Speaker, told Raila to keep off the activities of Jubilee, saying the Opposition leader was bent on extending the wrangles and confusion in Nasa to Jubilee.
“I want to tell Raila Odinga not to extend the confusion and wrangles that have made Nasa to be in tatters to Jubilee because we are organised as far as leadership is concerned,” said Kindiki.
“As Jubilee, we are not campaigning for 2022 or any other year but touring the grassroots to explore ways of addressing challenges facing the people as well as launching water, health and churches, among other projects,” he added.
“Jubilee Party is not campaigning because Ruto is our automatic candidate, who will take over from President Kenyatta when he retires in 2022 alongside Odinga,” he added.
The governors told Ruto not be detracted by Raila’s attacks.
Waititu said the Opposition leader was not sincere, genuine and honest about the building bridges initiative as he was now undermining efforts to devolve the handshakes to benefit Kenyans at the grassroots.
“I know Raila cannot be trusted. He is banking on a referendum to amend the Constitution to create positions for people like him,” said Waititu.
Samboja said the DP’s tours across the country were aimed at uniting Kenyans and addressing the challenges facing the people at the grassroots.
“I wish to ask the Deputy President to continue with his tours to unite Kenyans as well as focus on the implementation of the Big Four agenda,” he said.
The leaders said they would mobilise their people to back Ruto for presidency come 2022.