Kenyan Vice President Hints at Break Away From Ruling Party
(Bloomberg) -- Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said some ruling Jubilee Party officials who want to block him from vying to lead the country after next year’s elections had sought to humiliate him, and indicated that he may break away to mount his campaign.
Ruto backed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s two previous presidential campaigns and his supporters expected that in return he would be next in line for the top job. That understanding now appears to be unraveling, with Kenyatta having reconciled with long-time rival Raila Odinga, and forged an alliance with a party led by Gideon Moi, the son of ex-leader Daniel Arap Moi. The political realignments are seen to sideline Ruto.
The president and Raila Odinga have also jointly backed proposed constitutional amendments that would change how the nation is governed ahead of the next elections, including reintroducing the post of prime minister and two deputies. Ruto has criticized the proposals.
Ruto said he had expended a lot of time, energy and effort building up Jubilee, which includes his United Democratic Alliance party, and that he will consider going it alone if he failed to win its presidential nomination.
“Some team, a cabal of sorts, came up with the stop-Ruto movement” and tried to humiliate me, Ruto said on an interview on Citizen TV, referring to opponents within the ruling party. “In the event that Jubilee is not available, the next best option is the United Democratic Alliance.”
A number of Ruto’s key allies in the government and parliament have been sidelined over the past few months, another indicator of the tensions within the ruling party.
“The space I occupied before was taken up by other people who were now advising the president on how to move forward, and also the priorities changed because now it became urgent to change the constitution,” Ruto said. “Given an opportunity, I would not allow my deputy president to be humiliated the way former deputy presidents have been humiliated and the way I have been humiliated.”
Raphael Tuju, Jubilee’s secretary-general didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone or respond to a text message seeking comment.
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