Buried the hatchet? Ruto, Malala send birthday wishes to Raila

DP William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala. [File, Standard]

Political rivalry took a back seat on Friday when Deputy President William Ruto and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala sent birthday wishes to ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Ruto took to his official Twitter account to wish his 2022 presidential race rival who turned 77 today a happy birthday.

“Happy birthday Jakom. May you be blessed with many more,” wrote the DP.

Unlike in his political rallies where he refers to Raila as mtu wa kitendawili [a man of riddles], Ruto addressed Raila as Jakom, a respectful title used among the Luo to informally refer to people who enjoy prominence in social, political or economic settings.

Another notable birthday wish for Raila was from Senator Malala hot on the heels of their recent war of words.

“Happy birthday former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. May this day give you joy as you grow towards a more united, prosperous and peaceful Kenya,” Malala wrote.

Senator Malala had attracted the ire of Raila after he threatened to block Bukhungu II rally in Kakamega over the organiser's failure to seek permission from ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi.

Malala had claimed that Kakamega County was an ANC zone and told the Bukhungu II conveners to hold the rally in either Kisumu or Siaya.

Raila, however, hit back at Malala during the event, saying he [the senator] could not stop him from going or holding an event anywhere in the Western region.

Raila added that he was “more Luhya” than Malala and claimed that the senator’s grandfather was a native of Ugenya in Siaya County.

“His grandfather was buried in Ugenya, Siaya County, while my grandfather is buried in Matungu, Kakamega, I am a Kenyan and the only Nabongo remaining,” said Raila amid cheers from the crowd.

Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici was the first politician to wish Raila a happy birthday on Thursday, a day before his 77th birthday.

“Happy 77th birthday, jakom,” stated Ngirici.

Ngirici’s wish was, however, treated as a political a message having recently ditched Ruto’s UDA party citing betrayal of her commitment to the party and favouritism towards her opponent, Governor Anne Waiguru.

Former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama also wished the ODM leader happy birthday.

Muthama, a former Raila ally who ditched NASA for UDA posted a picture of him with the ODM leader and wished him a happy birthday.

“Happy Birthday Jakom. The Hustler Nation wishes you good health as you celebrate your special day,” Muthama wrote on his Twitter.