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Ruto, allies say August polls a contest between the past and present

By Ndung’u Gachane | May 18th 2022 | 3 min read

Deputy President Dr William Ruto (left), with his running mate Mr Rigathi Gachagua in Mathira, Nyeri yesterday. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Kenya Kwanza coalition leaders have framed the August polls as a contest between the past and the present.

Led by Deputy President Dr William Ruto, the leaders said the nomination of Mathira MP Mr Rigathi Gachagua and Azimio la Umoja’s choice of Ms Martha Karua had set the stage of the old guard against the youthful leadership.

Speaking at Hiriga village in Mathira during the burial ceremony of James Reriaini, the leaders dismissed the Raila-Odinga-Martha Karua ticket and urged Mt Kenya electorate to reject the duo.

“These are the same people who disturbed the late President Mwai Kibaki government. They are the same ones who disrupted Jubilee Party agenda. They also disoriented our friends Wetang’ula, Mudavadi and Kalonzo. Let us reject them,” Dr Ruto said.

The DP defended his choice of Mr Gachagua and allayed fears that their political marriage was for convenience. “I needed a strong personality who would not escape the tough challenges. I needed a leader who will work out solutions and that is how I arrived at Gachagua,” Dr Ruto said.

Praising him as a hardworking leader, Dr Ruto said Gachagua was always concerned with the welfare of the ordinary Kenyan. Mr Gachagua assured Ruto of loyalty should they clinch power. “I come from a family that does not betray friends. I will never have problems with you despite claims by some people that I am too strong to be your deputy. Our case will not be like the situation between you and the President,” he said.

Dr Ruto said more leaders from the Azimio camp were on their way to Kenya Kwanza.

While most UDA leaders at the burial wished away the Raila-Karua ticket, others called on their colleagues not to underrate the competitors.

Tujibebe Wakenya Party leader Mr William Kabogo said Mr Odinga was an established politician capable of running a marathon, campaigning vigorously. “I am not a witch nor a prophet, but a political seer. I told Ruto to go look for votes and not wait for Uhuru’s endorsement, and it turned out to be a prophetic message. I now urge leaders within our coalition to pull up their socks, we shall finish strong,” Mr Kabogo said.

Laikipia Woman Representative Ms Cate Waruguru, who lost in the Laikipia East UDA parliamentary nominations, said their competitors should not be wished away. “There is a huge task ahead of us, and we should not celebrate yet. Rigathi Gachagua can only enjoy his position if we win the August polls.”

Nyeri Governor Mr Mutahi Kahiga said: “There is a battle before us and it’s a strong one. It pits Raila, who does not follow protocol, and Kenya Kwanza that adheres to the Constitution.”

Ford-Kenya leader Mr Moses Wetang’ula exuded confidence that the team would win in the August polls, and urged Dr Ruto not to be distracted. “Our opponents are hostages of history and they will never move. We represent the future and the present, and by picking Gachagua we are recreating another Kibaki,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

Mr Mudavadi told Mt Kenya region to make a wise decision between Ms Karua and Mr Gachagua. “There is a test ahead of Mt Kenya. You have been put to test before between Kenneth Matiba and Mwai Kibaki and between Kibaki and Uhuru. Use that wisdom you put in place and vote in our team,” said the ANC leader.

The leaders said women needed equity in government and not a position to act as a bait. “This is a bait aimed at misleading women to vote for Raila. But we are not looking for one position,” said Ms Alice Wahome, the Kandara MP.

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