I followed the law when picking IEBC Selection Panel, Ruto tells critics

President William Ruto. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

President William Ruto has told off Azimio leader Raila Odinga over his opposition to the selection process of electoral commissioners.

President Ruto said he followed the law in gazetting a seven-member team that will help with the recruitment of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials.

The president spoke at Kirubia Stadium in Tharaka Nithi on March 12, where he attended a thanksgiving ceremony.

Ruto accused Raila and his team of propagating impunity with their demands on the constitution of the IEBC selection panel.

"The selection of the panel has been done according to the law and Constitution of Kenya. The Law Society of Kenya brought their representative, the clergy, assembly, Public Service, political parties, brought their representatives," Ruto said.

Ruto said he is empowered by the law to gazette the selection panel.

"What I did is the constitutional mandate to gazette the panel that will search for IEBC commissioners in future. There is nobody I have recommended because the Constitution does not empower the president to pick anybody.

"Those telling me to stop following the law, those telling me to follow their selfish interests that are in not in the law, I won't do it. I am sorry, it is not possible. Because if we do that, we will be promoting impunity in the Republic of Kenya," he said.

He told his critics to obey the law.

"None of us is above the Constitution. Let us make that easy by making sure that we obey the law. And if anybody has a problem with any part of legislation or any part of the Constitution, please amend that part of the law. Once it is amended, we will all follow (it). But as it is, we will follow the law and Constitution as it is."

He called for respect among leaders and for the law, adding that Kenya Kwanza leaders were right when they referred to Raila as a person of demos during the electioneering period.

"We refer to this man (Raila) as a man of riddles and demonstrations. He is now demonstrating!" he said.

He wondered what Azimio hoped to achieve with the demonstrations when their election petition at the Supreme Court had failed.

"They went to court and failed. Will they succeed through demonstrations?" he posed.

President Ruto appealed to Kenyans to stay united for the sake of peace.

"I want to appeal to all Kenyans for unity. We said we were going to partner with all leaders in government and in opposition so that we plan for the development of Kenya. We are law-abiding and want Kenya to move forward.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the opposition leaders were out to "sell fear" to the president but vowed that they would not allow a "handshake" with Raila.

"Now they are selling the president fear, they want a handshake. They can make noise all day, but there is no handshake," Gachagua said.

Governors Kawira Mwangaza (Meru), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi) and former Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi told off Raila over the demonstrations.

Kiraitu announced he had left Azimio to work with Ruto.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa and Tigania East MP Mpuru Aburi, who also announced he was now with Ruto, supported the president's sentiments.

Njuki said Raila's calls for a boycott of some products would lead to high unemployment.

Kawira said demonstrations would damage the economy and called for Kenyans to resist the move, that those out to sabotage Ruto's government will fail.

Kiraitu said he had slipped but now supports Ruto "100 per cent".

Kiraitu said in the past, he was the only CS in the whole of Mt Kenya East region but there were now three because of Ruto.

Ruto announced the elevation of Chuka hospital, Chogoria Mission hospital and Komarock to Level Five hospitals.