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David Murathe: It was Eugene Wamalwa for DP position, not Ruto

Jubilee Party Vice-Chairman David Murathe. [File, Standard]

Jubilee Party Vice-Chairman David Murathe now claims William Ruto was an afterthought-candidate for deputy president position in the run-up to the March 4, 2013 General Election.

Murathe said after Uhuru Kenyatta and team formed The National Alliance (TNA) Party, they had settled on Eugene Wamalwa as Kenyatta’s running mate.

However, TNA agreed to have William Ruto serve as deputy president so as to bridge apparent hostility between Kenyatta’s community and that of Ruto.

Murathe made the remarks on Sunday, May 1 at the St. Kizito Makema Catholic Church in Webuye East, Bungoma County. The Jubilee Party vice-chairperson had been invited for a fundraiser at the church.

“In efforts to heal the 2007/2008 post-election wounds, TNA resolved that the deputy president slot should go to a member of the Rift Valley community, now that Uhuru Kenyatta had secured the president’s slot,” said Murathe.

The ruling party’s vice-chairperson said when there were murmurs that Ruto was contemplating resignation after his fall-out with President Kenyatta, Jubilee had decided that Eugene Wamalwa would replace him.

Kenyatta and Ruto fell out after the Head of State struck a co-operation agreement with ODM leader Raila Odinga on March 9, 2018. The truce was christened the “handshake”.

“The president was hoping he could replace Ruto with Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, but the deputy president did not resign as we’d expected,” said Murathe.

The 2010 Constitution makes it impossible for the president to sack his deputy, given the two are elected as a pair at the ballot box.

However, Members of Parliament (MPs) can remove a deputy president from office by raising at least 233 votes (two-thirds) in the National Assembly. An impeachment motion has to be tabled and endorsed by more than 233 MPs for the DP to cease holding office.

In his speech in Bungoma, Murathe further stated that DP William Ruto lacks the courage to fight the president while outside government.

“Jaramogi Oginga Odinga resigned as Vice-President under Jomo Kenyatta’s administration [on April 14, 1966], when he (Jaramogi) and Jomo were not reading from the same page. Ruto, who is antagonising the president, has not mustered the courage to walk out of government,” said Murathe.

Murathe accused the deputy president of “enjoying public resources, yet he’s doing nothing for the government”.

“For four years now, he (Ruto) has been idling. He’s only good at insulting the president.”

The Jubilee vice-chairperson said Ruto shouldn’t be “too sure” of the Mt. Kenya vote in his presidential bid.

“They (Mt. Kenya voters) will dump you (Ruto) at the ballot box,” he said.

Murathe said Raila Odinga has been the president’s closest friend in the last four years, and that the former prime minister’s “selfless attribute makes him the most suitable person to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta as president”.

“Very soon, President Kenyatta will start campaigning vigorously for Odinga’s presidential bid. He’ll be clearer on why he prefers Raila to Ruto,” he said.

Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa was also present at the fundraiser.

The minister said it was “shocking” to hear Ruto, during his speech at Mwai Kibaki’s burial in Othaya on Saturday, downplaying the significance of the handshake that President Kenyatta and Raila had in 2018.

“If the deputy president does not believe in the importance of the handshake, tell him that many Kenyans cherish its outcome. When he said that Kenya shouldn’t have more handshakes post-2022 polls, I was surprised. Those remarks were disrespectful,” said Wamalwa.

“I urge Ruto to concede defeat [should he lose] in the August 9, 2022 General Election,” added the CS.

Ruto, on his part, has accused Kenyatta of sidelining him in government in favour of Raila Odinga.

The deputy president is on the record saying that most development projects under the Jubilee administration were delivered in the ruling party’s first term in office between 2013 and 2017. The DP claims the projects stalled after Kenyatta and Raila had their handshake.

Ruto accuses Raila of “hijacking” Jubilee and derailing its plans, including the Big Four Agenda.

In 2013, Uhuru Kenyatta, who was in TNA Party, teamed up with William Ruto, who was in the United Republican Party (URP), to form the presidential pair that won that year’s March 4 General Election.

Both political parties – TNA and URP – are now defunct after they were folded to form Jubilee Party in the lead-up to the August 8, 2017 General Election.

In 2013, Kenyatta and Ruto defeated the pair of Raila Odinga (ODM) and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Party) after getting 6,173,433 votes against Raila and Kalonzo’s 5,340,546 votes.

In the subsequent general election (August 8, 2017), the incumbent pair got 7.48 million votes to win an election whose initial results had been contested in court by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

Initially, the electoral board, IEBC, had declared Uhuru Kenyatta the winner of the 2017 presidential election after getting 8,223,369 votes against Raila’s 6,822,812 votes.

After the Supreme Court ordered fresh presidential election due to malpractices in the August 8 polls, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka boycotted the subsequent election, citing IEBC biasness.