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Ruto, Raila take war of words a notch higher

By | February 26th 2011

By Ali Abdi and Cyrus Ombati

The rivalry between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Eldoret North MP William Ruto played out at two different political rallies.

Speaking in Nairobi, the PM said — without mentioning names — that those who opposed the Constitution are regrouping to derail its implementation. Ruto led campaigns against the Proposed Constitution in the referendum, last year.

Raila said some of those who opposed the enactment of the Proposed Constitution are trying to influence how the new laws should be implemented through illegal means. He urged Kenyans to be vigilant to ensure the process is protected against saboteurs.

Kamukunji ODM parliamentary aspirant Ibrahim Ahmed arrives at the Country Bus Station in Nairobi on a camel on Friday. The rally was addressed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga [PHOTO:COLLINS KWEYU/STANDARD]

Last week, President Kibaki withdrew his controversial nominations to four constitutional offices after a PNU meeting, which Ruto attended.

"That is why we have said no to some of the things that have happened in recent days," Raila said.

Ruto, who is also ODM deputy party leader, led 10 MPs to rallies where the Prime Minister came under criticism.

Ruto, while speaking in Moyale yesterday afternoon, accused Raila of intimidating MPs the party views as rebels.

The suspended Higher Education minister cited the recent visit to northern Kenya where the PM used the drought assessment tour to criticise those who disagree with him.

He was accompanied by his host MPs Mohamud Ali and Chachu Ganya (North Horr), Abdul Bahari (Isiolo South), Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo), John Mututho (Naivasha) and Asman Kamama (Baringo East). Others were Alex Muiru, Joseph Gitari (Kirinyaga Central) and Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa).

Ruto said it was wrong for a leader to abuse other elected leaders. He said those who abuse their colleagues would be treated in the same way.

"It is lack of respect for a leader of his calibre to abuse MPs in front of the electorate. The insults and intimidations would, however, not make things change," said Ruto. The MP, however, did not disclose the nature of the insults.

He said Raila is out to see him and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta hauled to The Hague in connection with post-election violence.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo named Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Public Service, Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General, Hussein Ali, ODM Chairman, Henry Kosgey, and journalist, Josiah Sang, as post-election violence suspects.

The original list of post-election suspects came from the Waki Commission, which was a product of Serena peace talks at which Ruto sat in 2008, on behalf of ODM.

Local tribunal

The Waki Commission gave the option of local trials or The Hague. MPs preferred the International Criminal Court, at The Hague, when they rejected attempts to establish a local tribunal on two occasions.

MP Mohamud Ali, who is also an Assistant Minister for Special Programmes, said they would support friendly parties to censure the Prime Minister in Parliament.

‘‘Raila came to our area not to thank us for voting for him in 2007, but to criticise elected leaders. We erred in supporting him and now have no confidence in him,’’ said the MP.

Ruto said those who supported Raila’s political ascendancy, including him, ended up being shoved aside.

Kioni said PNU MPs were determined to bring to Parliament a Motion of no confidence in the PM, adding they had the numbers.

He alleged that Raila was the leading impediment to the implementation of the new Constitution, citing example of the recent nominations of four persons to key constitutional offices that had since been withdrawn.

Raila rejected the list saying the nominations were unconstitutional.

Ruto was suspended from the Cabinet, last year, following a fraud case against him at the High Court. This is a requirement under Chapter Six of the new Constitution. The case was filed 2004, three years before the 2007 presidential election.

Raila spoke at the Country Bus termini in Nairobi after an impromptu tour of Kamkunji constituency, in the city, where he drummed up support for ODM aspirant Yusuf Hassan.

The Kamkunji parliamentary seat fell vacant after the High Court nullified the election of Simon Mbugua.

Raila, at the same time, criticised the proponents of the ‘KKK’ alliance saying they were detached from the reality.

He mentioned the KKK tag despite recent request by Vice- President Kalonzo Musyoka to the National Cohesion Integration Commission to bar him from using it.

"There are some who are proposing that three communities should unite and propel one of them to power, but I tell them to forget it," he said, amid cheers from the crowd.

Kalonzo, Uhuru and Ruto have been linked to the Kikuyu-Kalenjin-Kamba alliance, which they have disowned. They have dismissed the tag with some of them saying it is a creation of the media.

Kalonzo and Uhuru have written to Cohesion Commission to protest the use of the ‘KKK’ tag.

Assistant Ministers Margaret Wanjiru, Elizabeth Ongoro, and Mr Alfred Khangati accompanied the PM. MP John Pesa, former MP Reuben Ndolo, Mayor George Aladwa, Town Clerk Philip Kisia and several councilors were also present.

The MPs told their PNU counterparts to stop threatening the Prime Minister, their other colleagues, and Speaker of National Assembly.

"They cannot continue to threaten that they will impeach the Speaker, PM, Namwamba and some of us because of our popular stand. We also know we have the numbers among the people," said Khangati.

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