I am ready for you, DP tells rivals

Anthony Mwangi and DPPS @PeopleDailyKe

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday declared that he does not need any endorsement to contest or win the top seat in 2022 even as Jubilee’s top organ cautioned against early campaigns.

At the same time, the party’s advisory council comprising 12 parties that merged to form the ruling party, defended party vice chair David Murathe’s stand that Ruto retires along with his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta.

But addressing delegates from Bungoma and Busia counties at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu county yesterday, the DP said all politicians eyeing the top seat will have to fight for it and should not wait to be endorsed.

Track record

He said no amount of endorsement can elevate the prospects of candidates without a development track record. “There are those hanging around, waiting for endorsements. How do you expect to be endorsed if you have no agenda or programme for the country?” posed  Ruto, who appeared to dismiss debate over whether he should be endorsed by Uhuru as his successor.

The DP’s declaration comes in the wake of a storm raised by Murathe, who urged him to retire from politics after the expiry of the current term.

Ruto said candidates should seek leadership through political parties with a national outlook.  The DP said he is ready to face off with anybody who would want to lead the country in 2022.

“I am ready to battle with anybody. Let my competitors put on the table what they have done for this country,” he said, adding that in Jubilee, they will find serious political contenders, and it would not be a walk in the park for those not well prepared.

And even as Ruto spoke, members of the Jubilee  Council, said the party constitution did not have a clause on a succession of its leader and presidential candidate. They also warned its party members that engaging in 2022 politics would slow down Uhuru’s Big 4 agenda.

The officials, Hassan Osman, (UDF), Albert Nyaundi (Ford People), Benjamin Muema (UPK) and Said Ali (RC), dismissed calls for national party election demanded by some members, saying its constitution was clear that the current office bearers would serve until 2020.

“It is clear that the party leadership under secretary general Raphael Tuju will continue holding the positions until the year 2020. The issue of an election is therefore null and void,” Nyaundi told a press conference in Nairobi.

Osman, who read a statement by the Jubilee officials, warned that the 2022 elections debate could derail the fight against graft.

In Sugoi,  the delegates led by Senate Speaker  Ken Lusaka, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’, Bungoma Woman Rep Catherine Wambilianga, MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) vowed to back Ruto’s 2022 bid.

Others were James Lusweti (Kabuchai), John Waluke (Sirisia), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula), Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South), Oku Kaunya (Teso North) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret).

Ruto invited anyone who wanted to vie against him, saying he was not scared of competition. On the referendum, the DP said he will not support the proposed change of the Constitution if it would burden taxpayers.

“Anything that seeks to impede the fruits of devolution would also be opposed. We would want to see reforms that would make counties thrive,” he said.

Ojamoong’ said despite the challenges facing devolution, the coming of counties had had a huge impact on the distribution of resources across the country.

He pledged to work with Ruto in ensuring more development. “We are past party politics. We would want to see working relationships forged among leaders,” said Ojaamong’.

Kaunya and Omuse lauded the government for setting up technical training colleges in Busia North and South, saying the move would boost the capacity of youths, thereby making them employable. Kaunya said he would support Ruto’s 2022 presidential race.

“We want to work with a leader, who is going to change the face of Kenya, a leader who is after empowering Kenyans. That is why I urge all leaders to unite and work with the Deputy President,” said Lusweti, a Ford Kenya legislator.

Wambilianga (Ford Kenya) said the country was beyond petty, visionless party politics.  “We are now inclined to leaders who would make Kenya better,” she said. Barasa said he would “flow with the Deputy President and overcome any obstacles along the way”.

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