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Panyako: Ruto's phone call that made me quit UDA

 Seth Panyako speaks during a past meeting in Malava, Kakamega County. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako has said President William Ruto forced him to quit the ruling party, United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Panyako, who served as UDA national vice chairperson, said the President was unhappy with him after he vehemently opposed the 3 per cent housing levy contained in the Finance Bill.

“I received a phone call from Ruto who told me to leave his party and I obliged,” said Panyako, adding his stepping down was not voluntary.

“The President demanded that I get out of his party for disagreeing with him on the housing levy. As a leader, I cannot keep quiet when the ship is sinking,” Panyako said in Kakamega.

Speaking at the funeral of Maendeleo Party Leader Amisi Omuganda, a brother of Higher Education PS Beatrice Inyangala, on Friday, Panyako accused Kenya Kwanza leadership of going back on their campaign pledges. 

“When we were seeking the presidency just a few months ago, we rode on the promise of making life affordable for the masses whom we baptised ‘hustlers’ but everything has changed and the party is turning life unbearable for the said ‘hustlers’.

“This is the reason I choose to step aside to be on the right side of history, to fight and speak for the liberation of the suffering masses,” he said.

Panyako said he first called President Ruto to inform him of the decision on Friday night after his efforts to share the views of the suffering masses were ignored.

“We told you that the price of unga would drop, promised jobs and everything including bringing down your cost of living has that happened?” he posed to the masses at the funeral.

[Additional reporting, Robert Amalemba]

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