I rejected Raila's advances four times before handshake - Ruto

In Summary

• Ruto says he supports handshake but is cautious of Raila's intentions

• Dp says 'Kieleweke' team is being used by Raila to try break Jubilee.

Deputy President William Ruto on the queue when he went to register for Huduma Namba in Langat'a on April 9, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto on the queue when he went to register for Huduma Namba in Langat'a on April 9, 2019.
Image: DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto now claims that former Prime Minister Raila Odinga approached him four times before the famous March 9, 2018 handshake.

Ruto told Citizen TV on Tuesday night that he rejected Raila's advances and informed President Uhuru Kenyatta about all the times that the ODM leader had approached him.

According to Ruto, he does not trust that Raila has been genuine in his politics and this was one of the reasons that he rejected the advances.

 

"Raila Odinga approached me four times. I declined to engage the former prime minister and for every approach, I informed the President," Ruto said.

Ruto said that he informed Uhuru that he would not engage Raila at any one time on any political matters.

He said his fear was buttressed by ghosts of 2002 NDP/Kanu merger where Raila teamed up with Kanu in a much-hyped merger which later "saw him break the independent party after staging a mass walkout with almost half of Kanu.

"I did not believe that he was doing this in good faith. I was not persuaded that he was doing this in good faith," Ruto said.

The DP said that he saw that Raila was trying to create a narrative that Uhuru was short-changing him when he brought up the issue of the President unveiling Cabinet Secretaries without his presence.

"We are no longer in a coalition and the President as our party leader does not have to consult me on anything," Ruto said.

The DP said that the second reason on why he rejected Raila's advances was because Jubilee Party has one leader - Uhuru - who leads all political engagements.

 

"I informed him that in Jubilee we have one command who is Uhuru Kenyatta. He is the president and the party leader and we all defer to him if there is any engagement with anybody on matters politics," the DP said.

 

According to Ruto, while he supports the handshake, he still holds the belief that Raila would use it to break up Jubilee. He added that he was ready to defend the President and the Jubilee from any machinations meant to break the ruling party.

"I was in KANU when Raila broke it. If Raila comes for me to Jubilee where I am Deputy Party Leader, I will stop him," Ruto said.

The DP said that it was not necessary for the President to let him know that he had met Raila and they had agreed on working together to cool down the political temperatures in the country.

"Being the gentleman that he is, he actually brought me on board and told me, 'Mr deputy president, we have had a discussion with the leader of the opposition and we have talked like this... we have agreed like this...' and I gave my views," Ruto said without elaborating what these views were.

Ruto also dismissed claims that the handshake had created a rift between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta. The DP said that there are a lot of people who pretend to understand his relationship with the President.

"We have a cordial and a working relationship with President Kenyatta and consult each other on a regular basis. Talk of a rift is far-fetched," Ruto said.

He added; "I take offence with people who portray the President in a bad light and second guess his intentions. We don't have the luxury of fomenting factions in Jubilee."

The DP also took a swipe at Jubilee politicians who are against his presidential team under the banners 'Kieleweke' and 'Stop Ruto Movement'.

He accused these individuals of working with Raila and his other political opponents to break Jubilee from within.

"Jubilee is a united party. There is a small section of people ‘kitaeleweka or something’ hanging out with NASA. That is all that is there. Some of these people are sympathisers of ODM and even former members of that party," Ruto said.

The DP also used the opportunity to fight allegations that he was fighting the war on corruption.

"The war on corruption is a government agenda. We have given teeth to all anti-graft agencies and properly resourced them to operate. But allegations must be firmed up to stand the test of a court process. Witch hunting, innuendoes and politicising the war on graft is defeatist," Ruto said.

The DP went to say that the war on corruption should be objective adding that he did not feel targetted by the fight on graft terming allegations thrown at him as politics.

"Many people have accused me of all manner of things. These accusations are not new. When I was supporting the former PM, I was a good guy, when I was not supporting him, I became the ‘high priest of corruption’," Ruto said.

Ruto also debunked claims that he is targeted in the war against corruption accusing his political opponents of hijacking the government’s war on graft.

He, however, expressed fears of a plot by individuals co-opted in the government to claim the fight and politicise it for their own selfish gains.

 The DP maintained he will not sit down and watch sponsored narrative to paint the Jubilee administration as corrupt by those they invited to work with the government.

“There are people who want to hijack the fight against corruption and politicise it. When you see politicians who are not investigators, all of sudden in funerals they are talking that person is corrupt, that project is corrupt,” Ruto said.

The DP also laughed off claims that he is the face of corruption in the Jubilee administration adding that linkage will not affect his 2022 presidential bid.

He, however, maintained the DCI  exaggerated the money in question in the controversial Kimwarer and Arror dam dismissing claims that a whooping Sh 21 billion is the subject of investigations.

“We cannot possibly lose Sh 21 billion in Arror and still claim we are a government. We must win the war on corruption and the only way is to get solid evidence,” said Ruto even as he denied interfering with the mandate of constitutional investigative bodies.

The DP also wondered the level of publicity the 0.7 hectares Weston hotel has attracted as opposed to known tycoons irregularly holding over 10 hectares of land in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area without anyone raising a finger.