Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and his running mate William Ruto at Jubilee coalition delegates
conference. [PHOTOS: TABITHA OTWORI/STANDARD]
By Standard Reporters
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta finally got Jubilee coalition’s presidential ticket at a delegates’ conference characterised by an overflow of anti-Raila Odinga sentiments.
In a day that Jubilee clearly defined who it perceives as its biggest threat in the race to State House, one speaker after another praised the youthfulness of its candidates and poured scorn on Raila’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy by disparaging its reforms credentials and questioning its trustworthiness.
The speakers also made it clear that because of the age profile of Cord leaders, their alliance stood for a generational change that signaled a break from the past to a brighter future. To cap the day on which Uhuru was handed the nomination certificate without breaking a sweat, given that the Jubilee team on Friday dropped Mr Musalia Mudavadi’s United Democratic Front from its ranks, Odinga’s stepbrother, Omondi, led the delegates in chanting ‘yote yawezekana bila Raila’ (all is possible without Raila).
With ticket on hand, Uhuru and his running mate, Mr William Ruto of United Republican Party, received the alliance’s blessings to fight for State House on March 4 and declared they were up to the task.
Another landmark revelation was made, this time by Ruto, that Water minister and National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) party would be the Leader of Majority in Parliament of Senate if Jubilee wins.
Ngilu who on December 4 left Uhuru-Ruto alliance for Raila’s Cord, before coming back to claim she had been given a raw deal, stole the show at Moi International Sports Centre by having top the Jubilee leaders present to sign the five-pillar national transformation programme on which she wanted to anchor her presidential race.
Perhaps to answer the lingering question among Kenyans over what could be the implication of having an alliance present a presidential candidate and his running mate both facing crimes against humanity at The Hague, a lawyer representing Ruto was given the platform to assure the delegates all will go well.
“Do not be anxious, we shall deal with and overcome what is facing them at The Hague,’’ assured Dr Kindiki Kithure, who also hinted he was Uhuru’s legal consultant.
On being nominated Uhuru and Ruto declared their government, if they win, would forever change Kenya. Uhuru thanked those who have stood by him this far, and urged them to be optimistic. He promised he would not campaign on a platform of hate and division and made a rallying call to unite Kenyans, rebuild the economy and giving hope to the youth.
Uhuru in particular promised to end tribalism and all other forms of discrimination. “We shall not discriminate against anyone, as you know the blood of all Kenyans has only one colour, red, which is the colour of TNA.”
Prior to being formally nominated, a process led by former House Speaker and URP chairman Francis ole Kaparo, Uhuru and Ruto announced to the delegates that on Saturday morning they officially quit their old parties; Kanu and Orange Democratic Movement respectively.
“We cannot live in history but we must learn from history...we must no longer just look at the past, but provide solutions for the problems facing our country,’’ declared Uhuru.
Both candidates also announced they would be resigning their parliamentary seats in compliance with the timelines set up in the Political Parties Act.
Though Ruto was specific he would resign his Eldoret South seat next week, albeit after consultations with his constituents, Uhuru said he would do the same but did not specify when.
“Our Jubilee ship has left the harbour and is in the high seas, with your help, we shall sail smoothly to the end,’’ declared Uhuru.
Uhuru described the political journey he has walked with Ruto, till 2007 when they parted ways, then met again in the coalition government. “Many were anxious but when Ruto and I teamed up and took the message of uniting Kenyans to all corners of the country, things changed. If you allow me to rule Kenya with him, we shall transform this country,’’ said Uhuru as he invited Ruto to speak after his acceptance speech.
‘God willing and I am praying hard, I will become the first deputy president of Kenya,’’ Ruto said in his acceptance speech.
“This contest is now defined, it is now clear what it is all about. It will be one between the analogue generation and the digital generation on our side. It is a contest between those who thrive on rhetoric and those who embrace solutions,’’ he went on.
“This contest will not be defined by ethnicity but issues that affect the millions of Kenyans. It is a choice between today and tomorrow,’’ he added.
“I believe in Uhuru because I have worked with him over the last 15 years. He has no hangovers of Sunday, here is a man who does not believe in rhetoric. He has a track record of performance; you have a reason to trust this young man. His competitors belong in retirement,” he added in praise of Uhuru.
“The next government will not be defined by promises, they have been made for the last 50 years. It will be defined by performance and delivery,’’ promised the Eldoret North legislator.