Lodwar – Leaders allied with Vice President William Ruto have warned opposition leader Raila Odinga of a possible betrayal ploy following the launch of his presidential bid through the Azimio La initiative Umoja.
Odinga launched his candidacy on Friday at a big show attended by thousands of people and a section of leaders from various parties, including President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party in his fifth stab at the highest office.
But leaders allied with Ruto said the absence of key political figures at the event should concern Odinga and those pushing for his presidency.
Those who spoke about the likelihood of betrayal were Governors Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), MPs Daniel Epuyo Nanok (Turkana West), Malachy Ekal Imana (Turkana), Joyce Emanikor (Turkana) and Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North).
Others were James Lomenen (South Turkana), Mohammed Ali Lokiru (East Turkana), Aden Duale (Garissa Town), Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu) and other leaders from Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
“It is clear that Odinga has been embroiled in the policy of stabbing in the back, deception and betrayal,” the leaders said.
They were speaking on Saturday in Lodwar, Turkana County, during the celebration of the sixth edition of Tobong’u Lore.
“Those who pushed your agenda are isolating you. Go back to the drawing board and reschedule your politics,” Garissa town MP said.
He noted that no one should sympathize with what Mr. Odinga was going through now.
“You perpetuated Dr Ruto’s isolation from the government. You thought it would benefit your political agenda. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t,” he explained.
Duale said the place of minority communities is in national political parties like the UDA. This is how they can climb the ladder of opportunity.
Ichung’wah called on Kenyans, especially pastoralist communities, to join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) saying they now have the rare chance to kill the culture of ethnic politics.
“It is in the UDA that your needs and interests must be addressed. It is our turn to unite and transform our country,” Kimani noted.
By supporting a national party like the UDA, Governor Nanok said Kenyans would avoid falling into the trap of selfish politicians who encourage the creation of small regional parties to divide the country.
âThat’s why we launched Tobong’u Lore; to celebrate our traditions which bring together people from diverse backgrounds, âhe said.
Nanok said there was nothing progressive for ordinary people in ODM.
“They are fond of violence and division. That is why they even attacked a sitting female deputy in Kasarani on Friday,” added the Turkana county boss.
It was backed by Governor Mandago who said that only the UDA is made up of leaders from diverse backgrounds but with a strong development track record.
Lomenen, Nakuleu and Emanikor all agreed that the UDA had taken over the Turkana region.
“The party has a program for small communities like us. We are firmly behind the party and its leader,” Lokiru observed.
For his part, the Vice-President congratulated Governor Nanok for his steadfastness.
He said many governors had been threatened and blackmailed for joining him.
“But don’t be intimidated. Stand up for the aspirations and needs of those who elected you,” said Dr Ruto.
He said the celebration of Tobong’u Lore was a way to build bridges, especially in fragile areas.
“We plan to make it a national event,” he said.