Reject tribal parties, Ruto tells Kisii as he seeks support

DP William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto who has asked the Gusii community to reject regional parties, describing them as tribal tools meant to create divisions in the country.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto has asked the Gusii community to reject regional parties, describing them as tribal tools meant to create divisions in the country.

In an apparent attack on Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, whose allies are mooting the formation of a strong regional party for the Gusii, the deputy president said such creations lack a national outlook.

Dr Ruto is has been fighting the formation of regional parties and kingpins, who are key in championing a specific community's political and economic interests.

While appealing to the Gusii for support, the DP said the community has come a long ways in matters of development and politics.

“Going into the future, we want to pull and work together. Kisii is an important and integral part of the future of our nation,” said the DP while addressing a meeting with Gusii leaders at Kamel Park Hotel in Kisii County on Saturday night.

He explained that when forming the Jubilee Party back in 2013, they brought together 12 parties among them TNA, URP and Ford People — which was Gusii-based and which was founded by former powerful Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae.

Negative ethnicity

“We did it for a purpose. Many of us who were in Jubilee put together those political parties because we wanted to have a vehicle and a political party that brings Kenyans together. The challenge that we have had as a nation is negative ethnicity in our politics,” said Dr Ruto.

He explained that the negative ethnicity breeds division, hate and suspicion and to get rid of it, there is need for a political platform that brings people together.

Dr Ruto is on a three-day visit in Kisii County as he tries to appeal to the Gusii community to back him in his 2022 presidential bid.

He seeks to counter the influence of ODM leader Raila Odinga and Dr Matiang’i ahead of the 2022 elections.

He has taken his war to the doorstep of the Interior CS in a continued attack on him after the minister in Parliament exposed the DP’s vast property and security detail.

Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, MPs Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Mathias Robi (Kuria West) and Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache) hosted the deputy president.

Church functions

Dr Ruto will Sunday be at the Deliverance Church in Kisii and later Kenyenya Catholic Church.

He will later go to Ogembo to open the Bomachoge Chache Constituency office. In the evening, the DP will visit Ms Teresa Bitutu, the widow of former Bonchari MP Oroo Oyioka.

On Monday, he will be in South Mugirango where he will give two school buses.

“The Jubilee Party which we created got an accident. Visitors came with demons and dismantled our party. When that happened, we teamed up with members of Parliament from here and elsewhere and created another platform that will unify this country and has the character and potential to implement a plan and win a government,” said the DP as he drummed up support for his new political outfit, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

He persuaded Kisii residents to support leaders who eliminate ethnicity from politics, noting that this is only possible if they belong to a national political party.

He said leaders of regional parties are taking the country backwards by planting seeds of ethnicity.

Matiang’i comment

When Nation asked Dr Matiang’i for a comment on the DP’s visit in the Gusii region, the CS said: “I welcome the DP to Kisii. No one needs anyone's permission to go anywhere in democratic Kenya. The DP, like all leaders, can go anywhere in this country and meet anybody. All voters in Kenya, like those in Kisii are smart and I trust their intelligence to make the right decision at the ballot. That is where it will all matter.”

Last week, the CS managed to get the support of almost all the lawmakers supporting the DP when they met at Sagret and Serena Hotel and later at Fred’s Farm Ranch in Isinya.

Though the Gusii have been supporting the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and its party leader Raila Odinga, the Interior CS is keen on uniting his community so as to increase its bargaining power at the national level.

He has lately been rallying the community behind President Kenyatta and his handshake partner, Mr Odinga, though there are calls from a section of politicians to have him run for presidency.

Already, leaders, mostly lawmakers and professionals from the region, are planning to form a strong regional party that will cater for the interests of the community.

"If the CS decides to back Mr Odinga, then Ruto's goose will have been cooked. Additionally, the idea of a regional party is a threat to the DP. This is what we are trying to avoid," said a lawmaker allied to Dr Ruto.

Notably, during the recent Bonchari by-election, Ruto’s UDA candidate came a distant third after the ODM and Jubilee candidates.

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