Nairobi — Deputy President William Ruto was set to hold a mega rally in his Eldoret hometown with at least 100 lawmakers allied to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) expected to grace the event.
Ruto’s event expected to attract some 50,000 supporters from the larger north rift region comes against the backdrop of a bruising battle in the National Assembly where his troops put a spirited fight to stonewall changes to the Political Parties Act with no success.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, the host, said the meeting will culminate with Ruto’s blessing by his hometown to pursue the presidency in the August 9 General Election.
“We are set and we have mobilized adequately to give the DP a befitting send-off and blessings,” he said.
His Turkana counterpart Josphat Nanok dismissed reports that Ruto will unveil his manifesto at the meeting saying the DP will do so in Nairobi.
“I confirm to you the hustler manifesto isn’t being launched tomorrow in Eldoret. The launch will come at an appropriate time in Nairobi. We will be listening to the ground ya north rift; the bottom up way. The ground (not dynasties)never disappoints,” he said responding to assertions by city lawyer Donald Kipkorir, an associate of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi, who is among key lawyers comprising UDA’s legal league shared a photo on Saturday in the company of top UDA lawmakers including Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Caleb Kositany (Soi) ahead of the rally.
UDA-allied lawmakers numbering slightly over 100 also lost crucial amendments to the proposed law dubbed the Azimio Bill supported by counterparts allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his new ally Raila Odinga.
Odinga is seeking to create a coalition party under his Azimio la Umoja Movement with the ability to filed candidates in all the six elective seats.
Ruto’s allies had objected the proposal to entrench coalitions as parties as opposed to the prevailing arrangement where individual parties in coalitions field respective candidates where they deem fit.
They also opposed a controversial amendment conferring the Registrar of Political Parties the authority to determine the conduct which constitutes defection by politicians from their sponsor parties as well as the powers to oversee party primaries.
Ruto’s allies also rejected a provision requiring candidates to form coalitions six months to the election date.
The Deputy President’s rally in Eldoret is part of his wider campaign tour which recently saw him hold as many as 40 rallies in a week.
Ruto has been facing immense pressure from within government where his role as the second in command has constantly been challenged with President Uhuru Kenyatta, with who they formed the governing coalition that won the presidency twice (2013 and 2017) electing to work with Ruto’s foes.
Although President Kenyatta has not openly declared his preferred successor, he has given the clearest indication that he supports Odinga’s bid.
Senior ranking cabinet members have only declared Odinga as their choice with the powerful Mt Kenya Foundation, a league of top business leaders from President Kenyatta’s central Kenya political backyard declaring Odinga as their choice.