Raila, Ruto Close in Gap Towards Election Coalition Agreement
Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have narrowed down their talks to options for political reunion.
The United Republican Party leader also told a meeting of Rift Valley MPs in his house on Wednesday night that he also has another proposal from The National Alliance presidential aspirant Uhuru Kenyatta, but little was discussed about it with the MPs.
What is emerging is that despite Ruto ruling out a coalition with Raila or even a return to Orange Democratic Movement, he has been, in his own words, promised the position of running mate by the PM.
The URP leader told the MPs he rejected the offer, even as speculation spread after the meeting that he could have asked for at least 60 per cent share of Government positions, were he to switch support to Raila.
Sources disclose the reunion need not be under the ODM flag, but nonetheless it would be such that it guarantees the two leaders mutual support from their political constituencies.
The Rift MPs resolved to give Ruto a free hand to continue meeting all presidential aspirants seeking a pact with him.
“We mandated him to do that and then we will meet again to evaluate the offers (given), and pick out the winning formula before the December 4 deadline,” said an MP.
“We were informed that the PM asked Ruto to enter into a pact with him and he would only serve for one term,” added other sources.
The sources further said the PM was also prepared to allow Ruto and his team to demand whatever stake they wanted in his government in return as part of the deal.
It was also said the PM was prepared to have the pre-election pact signed as soon as possible, and deposited with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
“It is a fact the ODM leader views Rift Valley as the major stumbling block to his ambition. He knows it is under lock and key by Ruto,” added our sources.
Ruto also told the MPs he met with Kenyatta and received another offer whose details were not clear. On the talks with Uhuru and Musalia Mudavadi, our multiple sources said nothing concrete had been arrived at and that consultations were still on.
The sources said in the meeting with the two, which were separate, Ruto insisted he wanted to be supported to vie for president owing to national ‘dynamics’.
The sources said in the meeting with Uhuru, Ruto told the MPs he was not prepared to play second fiddle, and that he had insisted Uhuru be his running-mate. However, it is said Uhuru was equally adamant he wanted Ruto to back him.
Last night, a source confirmed to us that Uhuru was at Ruto’s Karen home, a further show of the scramble for pre-election alliances.
“Anyway since they never reached any conclusions they agreed to continue consulting and would probably hold another meeting next week to review the situation,” added another of our sources.
When contacted Belgut MP Charles Keter, Ruto ally, confirmed the meeting took place in Ruto’s Karen home. “We mandated Ruto to go out and meet with other like-minded leaders since we are in an election year and we can’t work in isolation.”
Keter further said as the window for pre-election pact approaches, it was only prudent to free Ruto to negotiate on behalf of the party in the interest of members.
“We are alive to the fact that no party will form government on its own, and that is why we gave him the go-ahead to negotiate with other parties and then report back in subsequent meetings,” he added.
Keter further said they also resolved to have Ruto move out of the Rift Valley to campaign in other parts of the country to popularise the party, while the MPs would take charge of their backyards.
But it seemed the offer from the PM is what led Ruto to invite the MPs for a candid assessment, a further sign he is casting his nets outside the so-called G7 Alliance, which includes Vice-President, Kalonzo Musyoka, and Uhuru.
Sources in the meeting said Ruto called the MPs for guarded discussions that were agreed would lead to a “conclusive decision”.
The MPs, however, were in a dilemma on whose offer to take with opinion divided on two possible options.
“We discussed the strong options that would ensure we be part of the next government: One was a pact with TNA, and the other with ODM,” said one MP.
On a pre-election deal with TNA, some MPs expressed reservations that it might not be received well by URP supporters especially in the Rift Valley. The same case applied to the Raila proposal.
“We explored the ODM option, but most of my colleagues expressed doubt about the PM’s sincerity, said an MP who attended the meeting on condition of confidentiality because of the sensitivity of the discussions.
Previous unsubstantiated reports had it the PM had in addition promised Ruto he would in turn personally take up the case facing the Eldoret North MP at the International Criminal Court, with the view of rescuing him.
The MPs agreed that should the case against Ruto prevent him from being in contention for the second round, then a pact needed to be made between URP and a ‘friendly’ presidential aspirant who would be in the race.
“We agreed we needed someone who would safeguard our people’s interests in the possible absence of Ruto,” said yet another MP.
Another MP explained Ruto disclosed Raila had requested URP to present its lawyers to sign a pre-election agreement to be deposited IEBC.
“Such an agreement would stipulate the power-sharing and how URP could have been represented in such an arrangement,” said the MP.
Ruto also told them he had met Kalonzo and it emerged that some MPs opposed the option of working with ODM over fears that Raila could be tricking their leader with hope local courts rules he is not eligible to run.
“He (Raila) could use the deal to tell the community to support him just because he had offered him a running mate position when, and if, Ruto is locked out by the court,” said the MPs.
Last week and this week, Ruto sought to appease his supporters in the Rift Valley when he appeared at two Kalenjin radio stations for talk shows to stem concern about conflicting reports about his political stand.
He asked his supporters to be patient as he engaged in talks aimed at seeking support of other presidential aspirants.
“We do not want to make a repeat of the mistake we did in 2007 when we found ourselves in ODM without negotiations. We did not even ask for any positions like running mate,” said Ruto on Kass FM.
“Most of us shared sentiments by people on the ground who want him (Ruto) to run and then make a deal in the second round if there would be no clear winner,” said one of the MPs in the meeting.
Keter moderated the meeting and those who spoke explored the implications of the ongoing cases on Ruto’s presidential ambition.
By Vitalis Kimutai, Martin Mutua and Vincent Bartoo,
If Ruto can work with Raila politicians can not be trusted with what they say. Ruto, Raila & Kosgey startend the 2007/2008 war. Kosgey was pulled out now Raila may pulled out Ruto. We therefore can not trust Ruto.The fact is Uhuru did not stand for President with Ruto's power. Uhuru will continue & can be electend without Ruto. Uhuru can join with so many & get the top job.