Deputy President William Ruto welcomed in Kisumu, but on condition

By Jael Mboga | September 18th 2020 at 13:19:13 GMT +0300

Deputy President William Ruto, during a prayer meeting with faithful and political leaders from Naivasha at his official residence in Karen. [DPPS] 

Deputy President William Ruto has been urged to visit Kisumu, but on condition laid out by ODM.

Kisumu party chairman Ayiecho Olweny on Friday said DP Ruto can visit the region when he pleases.

But the DP has been warned against insulting ODM leader and former PM Raila Odinga while on his visit.

Speaking in Kisumu town on Friday, Olweny said the party and Kisumu residents are not afraid of the DP.

He further called for peace during the visit, urging those who will attend to not cause fracas.

"If he brings goodies, take them but that does not mean that everyone who attends that function is his supporter."

Olweny went on, "This is Raila's stronghold and will remain to be so no matter how many visits the DP makes to the region".

Olweny's statement comes as politicians hit the campaign trail, setting the mood for the 2022 General Election.

DP Ruto and Raila have been at loggerheads, a situation which was worsened in 2018 following the highly popularised March 9 Handshake.

The unity deal between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta seems to have elbowed out the DP who has been described as an absent member in the leadership he helped put together.

The latest bone of contention between Ruto and Raila has been the Building Bridges Initiative, which according to Raila, will end the cycle of post-poll violence after every election.

The battle lines in the push for constitutional reforms have been drawn, with Ruto setting the stage for a 'No' campaign that could be his trump card for the 2022 presidential campaigns.

The DP has emerged as the senior-most opponent to the changes being pushed by Uhuru and the ODM leader, in effect directly challenging the duo on any attempts to change the supreme law.

Ruto has laughed off the push to change the Constitution arguing that the public has more pressing needs.

“I don’t know what is being amended…to the best of my knowledge, this whole push is by leaders, not by the people. People at this moment are concerned about jobs, about their livelihoods,” Ruto said during an interview with a local television station earlier this month.

But Siaya Senator James Orengo has insisted that Ruto is not honest in his rejection of the changes.

Ruto's position mirrors his stance on constitutional changes in 2005 and 2010, which on both occasions ended up directly benefiting him. In 2005, Ruto joined the Orange team in opposing the Wako draft that was backed by former President Mwai Kibaki.

BBI joint secretary Paul Mwangi in July said a referendum is inevitable if proposals made so far are to be implemented, affirming the fears of Ruto allies that the changes would be deep.

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Deputy President William Ruto Kisumu party chairman Ayiecho Olweny