Deputy President William Ruto will not relinquish his position after being endorsed as United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader and flagbearer ahead of the August General Election.
There has been pressure on him to resign since he is propagating ideologies of a party that did not sponsor him to office. President Uhuru Kenyatta at one point dared his deputy to quit from his position as the country’s second in command to focus on his (Ruto's) State House bid.
Dr Ruto, through his director of communication, Emmanuel Talam, said he will be in office until a new holder comes in, an indication that he is not ready to bow to the pressure to leave office prematurely.
“Deputy President is a constitutional office whose term expires when a new holder is elected,” said the DP.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, said resignation will be a sign of cowardice hence the DP will continue being in government and Jubilee Party noting that Dr Ruto is only likely to quit Jubilee party on or before March 26, 2022.
“Resignation is an act of cowardice. If we would have resigned, how would Kenyans know that we have evils, dishonesty, tyrants, selfish, thankless people in the Jubilee Party?” he posed.
Kandara MP Alice Wahome added that: “What is going on is just a formality and the President is at liberty to sit in his house or any other venue to complete what he undemocratically started. President Kenyatta should resign for messing up Jubilee and dismembering the ruling party.”
This comes as Jubilee vice chairman, David Murathe, disclosed that they intend to initiate the process of removing lawmakers who have defected to UDA from their seats.
Since the handshake between President Kenyatta and his erstwhile opponent Raila Odinga, the ruling Jubilee Party has been rocked by mass defection after the formation of UDA party, which DP Ruto is now using as his political vehicle in his State House journey.
Jubilee’s vice chairman David Murathe, in an interview with Citizen TV, disclosed that they will be writing to the Registrar of Political Parties to establish whether those who attended UDA National Delegates Conference (NDC) have resigned from Jubilee for them to initiate the process of removing the rebels from their seats.
“If you have to participate in NDC, you must be a member of that party otherwise, we are going to check with Registrar of Political Parties if it is indeed true that those people who went there as delegates are members of UDA. We are going to get an advisory, write to the speaker of both Houses and those people will have to vacate their seats. There are still four months, they can still enjoy going round campaigning for their preferred candidate but they will have left their seats,” Mr Murathe elucidated.
According to Mr Murathe, whether there is time or not for the electoral agency to conduct a by-election, the moment Jubilee will write to both Justin Muturi and Kenneth Lusaka to declare seats of Ruto-allied MPs vacant, there will be no reverse gear on the matter.
“You have defected from the party that sponsored you to Parliament, a vacancy is declared. Whether there will be time or timeline for a by-election available or not. The fact is, if the party writes to the speakers, the speakers’ hands are tied. They have to do a communication, issue a gazette notice and declare the seat vacant. It is the law not us,” he said.
“The party is writing to the speakers of the National Assembly and Senate declaring those seats vacant. In fact, there was a resolution at our NDC that all those people who will be promoting the affairs of other parties will be deemed to have resigned from the party,” he added.
The law bars the electoral commission from conducting a by-election three months to a General Election, that means between now and May 9, a mini-poll can still take place.
For DP Ruto’s case, Mr Murathe said they will be seeking an advisory if it is possible that President Kenyatta and his deputy can be in office while they belong to different political parties. He disclosed that in 2013, since the DP was in United Republican Party (URP), he had to be given membership of The National Alliance (TNA) to allow him be Mr Kenyatta’s running mate.
“With DP, it is a bit different. We are going to ask for an advisory opinion because when DP first ran with Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013, he ran on a TNA ticket. He was a leader of URP but we had to issue him membership of TNA because that ticket has to have an identity and if president is TNA, deputy has to be TNA. That is the reason why now we cannot have the president as Jubilee and deputy as UDA,” said Mr Murathe.
Due to the tediousness of the process, Mr Murathe told the DP: “To save Kenyans all these, the honourable thing for deputy president to do, after he was now nominated officially as UDA candidate, is to resign, but these guys are like they want to have their cake and eat it.”
In a quick rejoinder, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwah, a staunch ally of the DP, said they will not be cowed by the threats of the Jubilee Party.
“We are fed up with their threats and he can try out his useless threats. No single UDA affiliated MP is moved by their useless threats from a dead party. He can shut his shell of a party now. We left it to him,” said Mr Ichungwah.