NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 8 – Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has shifted his loyalty to President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the October 17 repeat presidential election.
Ruto, who joined the National Super Alliance (NASA) on April 20 as the fifth principal, was on Friday at hand to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at Kapkatet grounds, Kericho County, where the duo took their presidential campaigns.
“Today I want to tell President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto that we have come to join hand with you so that we can vote for you on October 17 and continue to govern this nation,” the former NASA co principal said at the Kapkatet grounds rally.
Similar remarks were expressed by Emurua Dikirr lawmaker Johana Ng’eno who has been a fierce critic of the deputy president who has now vowed to support the ruling party in the forthcoming election.
“We’re glad that we’re all united. We’ve entered this house, locked the house and thrown the key. No one is fleeing,” he told the rally in the local Kalenjin dialect.
“Deputy President, you’re the pillar of this house. Please hold us so that we can remain united as one house,” he added.
Isaac Ruto’s absence in Opposition rallies had raised eyebrows among NASA supporters with political pundits predicting he was warming up to join the Jubilee Party.
The Chama Cha Mashinani leader, who fell out with his former boss, Deputy President Ruto in the period leading to the merger of Jubilee alliance affiliated parties, adopted a reconciliatory tone during the inauguration of his successor Joyce Laboso.
Only on Monday, the outspoken former Chairperson of the Council of Governors told the press that he was still in NASA after questions over his absence in the Opposition party’s events – including their successful challenge of the August 8 presidential election at the Supreme Court – was raised by reporters at a NASA presser.
“The remaining elections are those for the president. I don’t think Jubilee or any other party is discussing mergers because such issues are normally discussed pre-election or post-election,” he told KTN News at a Nairobi hotel.
He reiterated at the time that his decision to keep off politics was in the best interest of the people of Bomet whom he said deserved to be given an opportunity to enjoy service delivery by the new governor.
“Keeping quite simply means one doesn’t want to speak. I simply wanted Bomet residents to support the new governor so that she can deliver,”
Ruto and Ng’eno were also joined by former Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot, and Narok’s Patrick Ole Ntutu.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi also joined the campaign rally vowing to mobilise voters to show up on October 17 and give President Kenyatta a decisive win.
Speaking during the event, Deputy President Ruto said the Jubilee Party will not cow to attempts by the Opposition to intimidate its supporters from expressing their democratic choice.
He once again faulted the September 1 Supreme Court decision nullifying President Kenyatta’s re-election describing it as a “civilian coup.”
“Because of fraud and witchcraft, our opponents schemed and planned a civilian coup and overturned the will of the Kenyan people,” he said.
“We want to say here that although the Supreme Court overturned the will of the people, we’re ready to go back again and get that mandate and verdict from the people of Kenya,” Ruto added.
During the rally, President Kenyatta has told off NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga for holding the country at ransom in order to secure selfish interests.
He said Odinga should realise that he is merely a candidate and thus cannot order government agencies and independent commissions around.
“Odinga should know that he’s a mere candidate and therefore cannot order people around. We’ll ensure our children sit national examinations according to the schedule set by the Ministry of Education,” the President said.
He urged the electoral commission to make adequate preparations for the October 17 fresh presidential election so that the electorate can exercise their democratic right of choosing the leader of choice.
“IEBC is independent, neither I nor the Opposition can dictate to the commission what to do. Do your job!” said Kenyatta.