Members of Parliament have accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of scheming to remove Deputy President William Ruto from office.
The nearly 100 MPs drawn from the National Assembly and the Senate claimed that ODM planned to cause a rift in the Jubilee administration that would see Raila replace Ruto in government.
In a hard-hitting statement, lawmakers in the pro-Ruto camp claimed that Raila had forced President Uhuru Kenyatta to make changes that would give ODM members half of Cabinet positions and Raila the post of the chief minister.
They challenged Raila to “stop making piecemeal changes, including an impeachment against Ruto and instead provoke a contest that will pit him against the deputy president through a snap election.”
“Tuko tayari kwa uchaguzi, tuko tayari serikali ivunjwe na twende kwa debe (We are ready for polls. We are ready for the government to be dissolved and go to the ballot). We are sure we have the support of about 80 per cent of Kenyans and we are ready to win instead of being subjected to these shenanigans,” said Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
Kuria said President Kenyatta was the appointing authority hence he could name anybody he wanted to join his government.
“It is the prerogative of the President to reshuffle the Cabinet. He can do it anytime. If he wants to bring in Raila as his chief minister, let him do so instead of treating us to all this drama.”
The lawmakers criticised a meeting held yesterday at Serena Hotel by a group they described as being “pro-Raila and pro-BBI”. They said that such forums were organised ostensibly to discuss the BBI process, but in reality they were intended to paint Ruto as being disrespectful and disloyal to Uhuru.
The MPs also claimed there is a meeting planned for today by the ODM bosses and their ‘side-kicks’ that is meant to discuss an impeachment motion against Ruto. They dared the convenors to table the motion in Parliament and vowed to shoot it down.
“We are not afraid of an impeachment; they should have brought it yesterday. Let them come and face us in this battle,” said Nyali MP Mohammed Ali.
Bura MP Hassan Wario said they were ready to face Raila in an early poll.
“We hope if we beat him in the contest, now or be it in 2022, he will concede defeat. We know he has never accepted even when he is beaten hands down. He should not treat us to all these divisions and then when he is beaten, he comes spewing hatred and sponsoring violence,” said Wario.
Height of irony
The group claimed it was the “height of irony for Raila and his camp to purport to lecture Ruto on how to be loyal and respectful to Uhuru, yet they spent the majority of the President’s eight years in office hurling epithets at him.”
Malava MP Malulu Injendi said despite the unity pact between the leaders, Raila had never recanted the epithets he had thrown at Uhuru and his fellow Jubilee leaders. He added that Ruto, on the other hand, had remained loyal to the President.
“Anyone questioning Ruto’s loyalty to President Kenyatta is not only dishonest but also evil. We have seen Raila, through his members, pontificate about how we should respect the President. Really? Did they just say we should be loyal and respect the President?
“The President has not complained about his deputy and neither has he sent anyone to do so on his behalf. ODM cannot lecture us on loyalty and respect for Uhuru. If there is a measure of loyalty to the President, then that tool can only be William Ruto,” said Injendi.
The MPs claimed that Raila was using the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) for his political ends instead of uniting Kenyans.
“He wants to use this for his insatiable appetite for power, replaying the same script he used against President Moi, Kibaki and now employing the same on Uhuru. The leopard does not change its spots. Even with whitewash, beneath it all you will still find its true spots,” said Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
The senator said that although the intentions of the handshake and the BBI were noble, Raila had hijacked the process and was using the countrywide rallies to attack Ruto.
“Hiding behind the handshake with the President, he (Raila) has usurped the clarity, authority and credibility of the President’s vision and recalibrated it to achieve his personal ambitions,” said Linturi.
He added: “In becoming the most visible actor in BBI, Raila has escalated his personal wants into a national agenda, threatening the legitimacy of the BBI altogether.”