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William Ruto is anti-handshake, say ODM legislators

By JUSTUS OCHIENG’
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ODM leaders have accused Deputy President William Ruto of trying to undermine President Uhuru Kenyatta and their party boss Raila Odinga’s March 9 peace deal.

ODM party director of elections Junet Mohammed said the Deputy President was not sincere in his support for the handshake after his lieutenants sensationally claimed Mr Odinga was using it as a launching pad for his 2022 presidential bid.

Mr Mohammed accused Mr Ruto of “speaking from both sides of the mouth” on the matter as he played politics.

“Ruto was in Kisumu barely two weeks ago and he said proudly that he is supporting the handshake. He even gave a narrative that when you see Tinga (Raila) on the right side, and Uhuru on the left side, he is in the middle.”

“Today they are saying Raila is using the handshake to propel himself to the presidency. Nothing can be further from the truth,” said Mr Mohammed.

UNITE THE COUNTRY

He went on: “Raila does not need the handshake to become president. He is known to have aspired for the presidency many times without the handshake.”

The Suna East MP said what Mr Odinga needs now is to bring the people together and unite the country.

On Wednesday, the DPs’ allies led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen responded furiously to Mr Odinga’s statement that he will not vie for presidency in 2022 and accused him of trying to play with the minds of Kenyans.

“The old saying goes that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a duck. So for Raila Odinga, his words are meant to hoodwink political novices,” Mr Murkomen said.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Caleb Kositany (Soy) said Mr Odinga was only trying to resuscitate his “sinking” political career using the handshake.

Speaking at Pala Primary School, Homa Bay County, during a cultural festival, ODM MPs continued to drum up support for Mr Odinga’s 2022 bid.

NO PREFERRED CANDIDATE

MPs Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka), Adipo Okuome (Karachuonyo), Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) and Eala MP Oburu Oginga, among others, said the party has no preferred candidate other than Mr Odinga.

Mr Kaluma said the party has begun an initiative to push Mr Odinga to vie for the seat.

Dr Oginga, however, discouraged the leaders against early campaigns. He said the country should focus on development.

“Our party leader is still young and eligible to contest. Let all leaders wait for the right time to start asking for votes,” said Mr Oginga. Mr Odinga, however, steered clear of the 2022 debate.

“If Orengo speaks about 2022 and says Raila will be on the ballot, he is treated as an angel but when we go around the country with the DP to launch projects, we are demonised over claims we are campaigning for 2022 elections. This is dishonesty of the highest order,” Mr Sudi said.

He pointed out that they were not fools to know that Mr Odinga will be on the ballot in 2022.