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Ruto: I will seek Uhuru backing when the right time comes

By Phares Mutembei | September 8th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Deputy President William Ruto during a fellowship with Bishops from the Meru County Ministers Forum at his Karen official residence on September 1, 2020. [DPPS, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto has said he will be seeking Uhuru's support in his 2022 presidential bid "when the right time comes."

Speaking in an interview on Weru TV on Sunday evening, the DP said: "At the right time, I will approach the President as my friend and ask him to support me. As I have said before, this will be purely on a friendship basis because the two of us have a history."

Dr Ruto said he would not engage in a verbal exchange with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The DP, who insisted his friendship with the President was still intact, said being involved in a public spat with his boss would be the beginning of chaos in the government and the country.

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“There are people who would wish I start verbally engaging the President in public and I want to tell them that will not happen. I'm a responsible leader who has tremendous respect for the President, we have come from far," said Ruto.

While observing that the Jubilee Party was still a strong entity, Ruto said a break-up of the ruling party "would break my heart."

"It will not be easy to break Jubilee because the kind of emotional, political and financial investments that we have put in Jubilee to build it to a national party, it will be the biggest loss ever, and it would be the biggest regret that I will have as a politician if Jubilee were to break up,” he said.

Ruto said he would do everything in his power to ensure the party does not disintegrate.

“As a result, I will do everything possible to ensure nobody breaks it up. It is the party that has brought Kenyans together and a tool we want to use to rid the country of tribalism and animosity. If there is one thing I want to leave as a legacy, is a national party, because it is an insurance against bad politics of hate and tribalism,” he said.

He said a national party would serve to rid Kenya of tribal politics, betrayal and conmanship,” he said.

In the recent past, Jubilee has faced implosion with leaders from different factions pulling in different directions.

Apart from public exchanges between supporters of the President and his deputy, there have been changes at its hierarchy with close allies of Ruto losing their positions. 

In a fightback of sorts, Ruto has claimed that the party has been "hijacked by conmen and merchants who have no idea how the party was formed."

During the interview on Sunday night, Ruto said he still harbours the intention of vying for the Presidency in Jubilee ticket.

On the talks to review the constitution, Ruto said the Jubilee administration had not agreed on a common stand and was waiting for the Bridging Bridges Initiative (BBI) report to be made public.

"I fully support the president, but I have the right to ask questions if I need some clarification on some matters and that it is what democracy is all about," said Ruto during the interview with the Meru's Weru TV.

The DP said despite the upheavals that have rocked the ruling coalition, he considers his relationship with the president as cordial.

The DP, for the umpteenth time, blamed a group of people who he did not mention of creating divisions in the ruling coalition.

He said there were people who kept on provoking him to start attacking the President "so that the country can be in turmoil.

"There are people who want me to start attacking the President or rocking the boat from within so that their narrative can be complete. I know the danger of doing this as I'm committed to supporting the President fulfils the Jubilee manifesto," said Ruto.

He said those making the calls for constitutional review should say what they want changed.

He said the 2010 Constitution had not been fully implemented, noting even today’s Parliament was in danger of dissolution because it had gone against its recommendations on the third gender rule.

Ruto wondered what was so serious about implementing the Constitution.

“The problem is not the Constitution; the problem is the people who do not want to follow the law. They want short-cuts. The Constitution is not a personal tool, it is for all Kenyans,” he said, adding that he was yet to be persuaded on the need to change the document.

He said the law should not just be changed to create positions to satisfy politicians, adding that uniting the country should be the focus.

Ruto said the country would meet its financial obligations such as debt repayment, even as it battles the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that there were problems that had hit revenue collection, which had brought challenges in disbursing money to counties.

“We have had nearly one year of Coronavirus. When Kenyans are not doing business, even revenue is hard to get. That has brought challenges,” Ruto said.

The DP said the International Monetary Fund and World Bank had expressed confidence that Kenya had the ability to pay its debts in full.

“We don’t have money now because businesses have been hit, which has brought challenges of collecting revenues that is sent to counties,” he said.

Deputy President William Ruto Jubilee Party BBI Coronavirus
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