There was no deal on IEBC at State House, says DP William Ruto

President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and Western leaders during the burial of former Cabinet Minister Soita Shitanda in Butali in Malava, Kakamega County yesterday. [PHOTOS: BENJAMIN SAKWA/STANDARD]

President Uhuru Kenyatta steered clear of the controversy surrounding the IEBC stalemate as his deputy William Ruto claimed CORD only made a proposal that they set up a joint committee to initiate dialogue over electoral reforms.

Ruto said when opposition leaders Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang’ula visited State House last week, there was little time to conclusively discuss substantive issues on the electoral commission.

“Nimesikia maneno ya hivi hivi, lakini tutaongea (I have heard conflicting statements but we shall talk),” he said.

The DP said it defies logic for the opposition to push the government on reforms, saying the Constitution was very clear on Parliamentary sovereignty which the State insists is the only legitimate organ to resolve the IEBC stalemate.

“When the CORD principals came to State House, they made a proposal and in the interest of time we said, let us finish with our visiting guest (South Korean President Park Geun-hye) and then later set a date to meet and discuss,” he said.

Speaking at the burial of former Housing minister Soita Shitanda, the Deputy President denied that  a deal was struck between the two sides with specific timelines given to resolve the matter.

The President, however, steered clear of the topic, even after several local leaders implored him to give dialogue a chance.

Instead, the President promised to return to Western region and launch a personal campaign to seek their votes, and stated he would not send emissaries and that he needed no one to mediate for him.

“My silence does not mean I don’t know politics. I am a perfect, accomplished and compassionate politician but spare me the epithets of shame and many words that you have spoken here today. I will get another time to come back here and answer you,” the President said and avoided being drawn into the IEBC debate.

Political solution

He said he would seek votes from the Western region and would  respect the outcome of their decision at the ballot.

“When you vote for me, I will reciprocate the good gesture with thank you. If you reject me, I will humbly accept and go home, no problem,” he said.

The President said his administration had collaborated with the County Government of Kakamega and purchased equipment worth Sh780 million and pledged an additional Sh380 million to upgrade Malava Hospital to boost healthcare services.

He promised that work on the stalled Kakamega-Webuye Road would  resume soon, saying they had won the court battles and enlisted a new contractor.

“This time we will follow the project and ensure that it is done to the required standard,” said the President.

CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale had asked the President to accept dialogue in a bid to resolve the IEBC standoff.

Wetang’ula said the country was on the brink and Kenyans were  uncomfortable with the electoral body.

He said Kenyans have the right and duty to give direction to leaders.

“The discomfort we feel as leaders Mr President is felt much more among the people we lead. Let us talk with each other, and not at each other,’’ said Wetang’ula.

“We are ready to talk and it is important for you to listen to us as our President. The perception of our people after the State House visit is not good for the country.”

The Senate Minority Leader said the opposition respects the Constitution but it is possible to get a political solution outside the Constitution.

“There are some issues in the law. We agree, but where is it written in the law that there is no room for dialogue? I want to tell you Mr President, when I become President I will listen to you,” he added.

Khalwale said the President should heed the calls from Kenyans to let IEBC commissioners go so that they can create a level playing field for political competition.

Mudavadi said the IEBC issue needed to be addressed by the Head of State before it spirals out of control and leads to violence.

Unity calls

“There is a serious problem touching on IEBC which can destroy this nation if not carefully addressed. I want to appeal to you to tackle it as the Head of State so that the country remains united,” said  Mudavadi.


The ANC leader cautioned politicians from the Western region against washing their dirty linen in funerals. He said this after Khalwale lashed out at the Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya before the President alleging that the county government had failed to make an impact.

“We cannot continue to undress each other in funerals. Let us rise above this, let us respect ourselves and Kenyan people will respect us. Politicians should not use the name of God to play their politics,” he said.

With political realignment taking place in the region, Jubilee leaders promised to do all they can to win the backing of the region in the next elections.

Ruto sparked off the appeal for votes in the region when he declared that in the 2013 elections, Jubilee lost miserably to CORD but is determined to fight for a share of the western vote in 2017.

“You closed the door on us in 2013. This time I can assure you that if you try to close the door, we will get in and make sure that you join us and be part of the country’s leadership,” he said.

The DP challenged former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo to join him.

“I was Jirongo’s spanner boy but he should not be jealous of my position or become egocentric because it is God who elevated me. One day, if you are patient my friend, you too could be elevated,” said the DP.

The government pledged to continue working closely with the people of Western Kenya to initiate meaningful development projects.

Ruto announced that so far, the government had injected Sh2.2 billion to rescue Mumias Sugar.

Stories by John Shilitsa, Keffa Otieno and Grace Wekesa