Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday waded into the Jubilee succession debate, telling Deputy President William Ruto that he needed his support to win the presidency in 2022.
The NASA chief said Mr Ruto – a former ally-turned-foe – should reach out to him (Raila) because that was the only way he would be guaranteed of ascending to the country’s top seat come next General Election.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) leader, who spoke in Kipkelion East yesterday, warned Ruto that he risked being rigged out.
He told Ruto that politicians from the Mt Kenya region were already scheming against him.
“My election victory has been stolen since 2007 and I would like to tell Deputy President William Ruto that he will not ascend to the presidency without my political support,” said Raila.
Raila spoke during the funeral of William Koech, an ODM branch chairman in Kipkelion East.
Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli and Suna East MP Junet Mohammed accompanied him.
He told mourners that despite having his victory stolen in last three elections, his popularity had remained intact in Rift Valley and various parts of the country.
On his planned swearing-in, Raila argued that NASA’s stand that the 2017 election was stolen was not far-fetched.
“We are not out of our minds to claim that we won the election yet we were beaten. Even President Kenyatta knows deep down inhis heart he did not beat me in the election.
“Kenyans want unity. I'm not the one who is pushing for the swearing-in but ordinary Kenyans,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said ODM has suffered due to election malpractices since 2007 and warned Rift Valley against banking on support from the Mt Kenya region.
“Members of the Kalenjin community are banking on a bunch of lies and political promises from Mt Kenya region leaders. Political pledges do not hold in politics,” said Mohammed.
He said promises were made to Raila in the 2002 General Election when he agreed to back the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), then led by former President Mwai Kibaki.
“The only true promise is what Raila is promising Ruto now,” said Junet.
The leaders vowed that the planned swearing-in at Uhuru Park on Tuesday would go on as planned.
“I dare say right here in Kericho that the planned swearing-in of Raila will go on as scheduled. Raila Odinga has nothing to fear. He has been jailed before for nine years in the 1980s… he has seen the worst of Kenyan prisons,” he said.
In response to Raila, Ruto's spokesman David Mugonyi questioned why Raila wanted to 'support' Ruto despite signing an agreement to support Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka come 2022.
“We thought Raila signed an agreement to support Kalonzo. Has he now realised that Ruto is a better candidate than Kalonzo?” asked Mr Mugonyi.
Mugonyi added that Ruto was not interested in politicking at this time since President Kenyatta and he were keen to deliver on their Big Four agenda for the country.
Raila's comments come a day after Jubilee Party cracked the whip on four rebel MPs who had sought positions as chairpersons of parliamentary committees against the party leadership's wishes.
Some of the MPs were said to have sought the support of NASA MPs in Parliament, but their efforts were unsuccessful as Jubilee's numbers prevailed and they were kicked out of the committees.
Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe yesterday told off the four MPs, saying they must toe the party line or leave.
MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben), David Bowen (Marakwet), and Alex Kosgey (Emgwen) were on Tuesday ousted from various House committees in a move that has caused political jitters in Ruto's Rift Valley support base.