Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said he will not take sides in the Kenyan presidential election scheduled for August 9, dispelling claims and rumours that Uganda and the ruling National Resistance Movement Party (NRM) support Deputy President William Ruto who is seeking to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
DP Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and several others — including former governors and diplomats — have expressed interest in running to become Kenya’s fifth president.
Speaking to local media in Kampala, President Museveni said, “Elections in Kenya or any other African country are a matter of the people of that country. We never take sides in the internal matters of other countries. So, we have no side in the Kenya elections.”
Until he was blocked from flying to Uganda in August last year for what he had termed a private visit, DP Ruto had made frequent visits to the country, including in 2015 when he joined President Museveni on a campaign rally in Kapchorwa, and referred to him as a role model.
“The peace and stability that the NRM has brought in Uganda has allowed joint projects,” Dr Ruto said then.
In 2018, Dr Ruto was again back in Uganda at the launch of the Kapchorwa-Suam road which links to Kenya. He reportedly had private talks with President Museveni.
Following talks with Mr Museveni during one of DP Ruto’s visits, the rumour mill had it that the two discussed a United Africa and Ruto’s presidency.
Senior presidential press secretary Lindah Nabusayi, at the time said Dr Ruto was “a supporter of President Museveni’s ideology and believes in his vision for East Africa and Africa”.
Political analysts thought President Museveni was backing Dr Ruto for presidency as NRM Director of Communications Emmanuel Dombo said the Kenyan DP and the Ugandan president have for long cultivated their friendship.
Allaying fears that the elections in Kenya normally destabilise the flow of goods, especially fuel as was the case in 2007 when the post-election violence caused a scarcity of fuel in Uganda for weeks, President Museveni said there is already an alternative route through Dar es Salaam and, therefore, there is no cause for alarm.