Netizen 24 KEN: Kenya: DP Ruto Behind ANC-Ford Merger Call, ODM Says

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Kenya: DP Ruto Behind ANC-Ford Merger Call, ODM Says

29 May 2018

The Nation (Nairobi)

Kenya: DP Ruto Behind ANC-Ford Merger Call, ODM Says

ODM party is now claiming that Deputy President William Ruto is behind the push for a merger of ANC and Ford-Kenya.

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna on Tuesday said ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula have already hinted at rallying behind Mr Ruto ahead of the 2022 poll.

Mr Sifuna, who was accompanied by ANC "rebel" leaders Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, said the push for Luhya unity by Mr Wetang'ula and Mr Mudavadi is aimed at consolidating support in Western region as a bargaining chip in preparations for the next election.

2022 POLITICS

Mr Ruto has been reaching out to leaders from various regions for support in his bid to succeed Presi dent Uhuru Kenyatta who is serving his final term.

"Recently, Ford-Kenya deputy party leader Boni Khalwale called on the DP to join forces with Mudavadi and Wetang'ula ahead of 2022. That is a clear indication that the two are consolidating support in Western region in order to auction the Luhya community to DP Ruto," said Mr Sifuna while addressing journalists in Nairobi.

Mr Sifuna laughed off claims by Mr Wetang'ula that ODM leader Raila Odinga is against the merger for fear of losing support in Western region.

Mr Odinga on Sunday dismissed "politicians spearheading tribal politics by calling for unity of some regions", a comment that has not sat well with Ford-Kenya and ANC top brass.

"Mr Wetang'ula needs to know that under his leadership Ford-Kenya has become a diminished good in Western. The Luhya community is solidly behind Mr Odinga," said Mr Sifuna.

Mr Odinga, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Weta ng'ula are co-principals in Nasa, a coalition formed ahead of August 8, 2017 polls and which Mr Odinga used for his presidential bid with Wiper party's Kalonzo Musyoka as his running mate.

NASA

The coalition has crumbled since a handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga - a deal that was made while other Nasa co-principals were kept in the dark.

On Tuesday, Mr Malala asked Mr Wetang'ula to stop attacking Mr Odinga in order "to remain afloat politically".

"It is strange that in the middle of deepening economic crises for the people of Western Kenya, including the collapse of Nzoia and Mumias sugar companies, Mudete Tea Factory, Panpaper and massive scandals reported in the country, Mr Wetang'ula has remained quiet and finds his voice only against Mr Odinga," said Mr Malala.

Mr Osotsi said young leaders from the region will not allow Mr Wetang'ula and Mr Mudavadi to ral ly the community behind Mr Ruto. "If they merge the two parties and come up with their own presidential candidate, we may think twice and join them. But we will not agree to be auctioned to our political competitor," said Mr Osotsi.

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