WAR OF WORDS

ODM to Uhuru: Your deputy is a dragon

ODM and Ruto wash their dirty linen in public over who reached out to the other first before the handshake deal

In Summary

• Raila's ODM party says Ruto is a pathological liar working to sabotage the President.

• Ruto hits out at 'uneducated Edwin Sifuna' who must be forgiven and ignored.

BITTER ANTAGONISTS: Deputy President William Ruto and Former Prime Minister and NASA leader Raila Odinga are at loggerheads.
Raila and DP Ruto in a past function BITTER ANTAGONISTS: Deputy President William Ruto and Former Prime Minister and NASA leader Raila Odinga are at loggerheads.
Image: File

Raila Odinga’s ODM on Wednesday tore into Deputy President William Ruto describing the DP as a pathological liar, a thief with no remorse and a blackmailer.

It's becoming an increasingly nasty political duel.

In a fresh war of words, ODM said President Uhuru Kenyatta must worry that "he has a dragon for a deputy," and claimed Ruto has always been scheming to tame Uhuru and his Kikuyu nation.

"Ruto is the face of blackmail in high places. He has specialised in blackmailing Kikuyu masses living in the Rift Valley, to gain a way to the Presidency. He attempted to sell the narrative of ‘finishing our common enemy’ to Raila, who declined the offer. Now he wants to blackmail both Raila and the President at the same time!"ODM said in a statement signed by secretary general Edwin Sifuna.

But in a swift rejoinder, Ruto through his spokesman David Mugonyi dismissed Sifuna's statement as personal.

"The incoherent, rabid juvenile rant by Sifuna is [so] ridiculously uneducated, spectacularly unhinged, desperately delusional that out of our compassion, it must be forgiven and ignored.

"We don't believe that ODM, even in its current dire straits, has fallen this low," Mugonyi said.

For the first time, ODM ruled out any possibility of a political deal with Ruto whom it termed the “country's biggest burden”.

“Even if Ruto was the last human being left standing in this land, Odinga would much rather make a deal with the birds and trees, but not a character like William Ruto,” Orange House said in a statement by Sifuna.

In an interview on Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Ruto claimed Raila was always insincere about the handshake with Kenyatta since he started making such overtures to him with clearly ill intentions.

"You know you can see the President has already started to appoint ministers and you know you are being shortchanged here,” Ruto quoted Raila as having told him.

He went on, “So I did not engage him. I told him initially we were running a coalition and now we have a party. The President is the leader of this party and doesn't need to consult me. So I could see where the theme was going and I duly informed the President.”

The DP claimed Raila made the attempts on at least four occasions — on the phone and through emissaries — seeking an engagement after the disputed 2017 twin presidential elections, but his requests were rebuffed.

“I declined to engage the former Prime Minister. In fact, on two occasions, we actually spoke on the phone when he sent some emissary,” Ruto claimed.

“I declined because I did not believe that he [Raila] was doing this in good faith. I was not persuaded that it was in good faith.”

But in his rejoinder, Orange House claimed that it was the DP who was seeking out Raila to help tame "Uhuru and his people".

ODM said Ruto first sent out feelers to Raila through his “foul-mouthed friend Oscar Sudi”, with the message that he (Ruto) was the one in charge of the country and he wanted Raila to work with him.

Raila asked his staff member who was being engaged to stop further contact with Sudi on learning what Ruto was up to, Sifuna claimed.

“This contact was made through a member of staff at Raila’s office in Capitol Hill. Ruto knows the details,” ODM said.

Yesterday, Sudi denied ever being used as an emissary.

“For the record, Edwin Sifuna’s allegations is a big flat lie. Never have I taken such assignment and therefore Sifuna’s sentiments should be treated with the contempt it deserves,” he said

ODM also alleged that Ruto would not relent as he soon sent a female former powerful Cabinet Minister from the Rift Valley to Raila’s home, with the same proposal to help tame "Uhuru and his people."

ODM claimed that the former Cabinet minister attempted her mission on at least four occasions, during which the requests were flatly rejected.

In a hard-hitting statement, the ODM SG claimed Ruto and his backers see “the President as a man who is not in charge, and that they can do a better job than him.”

According to ODM, Ruto was portraying himself as more intelligent than his boss President Kenyatta by always insisting that the handshake amounted to political conmanship.

“His attempt to portray himself as smarter than President Uhuru, with an ability to sniff out political cons, which ability he claims the President does not possess, is further indicative of how little he respects his boss. This is why he is the greatest enemy of the Handshake and desperately wants to see it fail. We once again advise him to raise his objections with his boss and stop his obsession with our Party Leader,” ODM stated

In what further revealed the heightened intrigues that marked the political manoeuvres after the disputed presidential elections, Opposition chief’s son Raila Jnr also claimed that Ruto made overtures to his family.

“The truth is that in January 2018, Arap Mashamba tried to entice Winnie Odinga and me with high-level government positions, a kind of divide-and-rule tactic using a very senior ambassador to put pressure,” Raila Jnr tweeted.

In the statement, ODM launched a scathing attack on Ruto, terming him “a thief with no remorse, a blackmailer with no shame and a rich man without working for it”.

The Orange party claimed the DP is the country's biggest burden, both on the national conscience, and in the literal sense.

Ruto has lately come under scrutiny for opposing mega graft investigations and accusing detectives of selective prosecutions, devoid of facts and propelled by lies.

“In a stunning revelation of who he truly is Ruto stated that corruption cannot stop development. We are yet to find a planet where you steal money meant for dams, roads, schools and fertiliser factories, and expect them to be built,” Sifuna stated.

“For him really there is nothing wrong with corruption and we should learn to live with it.”

 Since President Kenyatta launched his unrelenting war on corruption,  ODM stated, Ruto has done all he could to undermine efforts of state agencies mandated with investigating, prosecuting and punishing graft. 

“We advise William Ruto to look in the mirror and deal with his many ghosts. The biggest enemy to William Ruto is William Ruto, who also happens to be the biggest impediment to sustainable peace and security in the great country called Kenya,” Orange House said

“We must ask the President to be careful, for he has a dragon for Deputy, one who is not averse to eating everyone at the table, to get to power. We also advise Ruto that his politics of division and hatred, chaos and threats of violence, blackmail and tribal divisions no longer appeal to the masses.”

During the interview, Ruto named the historic Kanu and Raila’s LDP merger as well as the quick fallout between retired President Mwai Kibaki and the ODM leader in the Narc government as some of the lessons that fuelled his scepticism.

Ruto also claimed he played a key role in preparing the instruments for the Kanu-LDP merger before the ODM leader walked out on the deal prior to the 2002 General Election.

The DP says Raila’s intention is to decimate Jubilee and the signs of cracks are already evident, although he said 95 per cent of the ruling party is still intact.

But Raila’s party scoffed at Ruto’s alleged role in the merger, terming him a “peripheral player who knew little about the discussions”.