President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday shattered his deputy William Ruto’s plans to flex muscles with ODM leader Raila Odinga in the upcoming Msambweni Parliamentary by-elections.
According to a report by one of the leading local dailies, Uhuru made a 30-minutes phone call through Jubilee party Secretary General Raphael Tuju’s phone, which was put on a loudspeaker to address the second in command.
Ruto had arrived at the ruling party’s headquarters along Thika Road in Pangani, Nairobi barely an hour after Tuju made an announcement that Jubilee was not going to field a candidate in the by-elections, citing the ‘handshake’ between President Kenyatta and Raila.
It has since emerged that Tuju placed a phone call to Uhuru, where the DP was reportedly cornered and told to stand with the party position.
Ruto then emerged from the meeting to announce he would stand by the party’s decision.
However, barely a day after this commitment, Ruto, in a sign of defiance, met an independent candidate for the seat, Feisal Abdallah Bader yesterday morning.
The meeting confirmed the DP’s determination to face off with Raila in the campaigns, which he is likely to use to gauge his support base in Kwale County.
He met Bader in the presence of his allies from the Coast region.
“Met an aspirant for Msambweni parliamentary seat Feisal Abdallah Bader in the company of Coast MPs Athman Shariff (Lamu East), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) at Karen, Nairobi County,” tweeted Ruto.
The decision by Ruto to endorse Bader was surprising given he was with Mariam Sharlete at the party headquarters on Wednesday.
Ruto and Tuju are said to have proceeded to the party’s boardroom on Wednesday for a meeting before the secretary-general placed a phone call to the president, who was in Mombasa.
The call was put on loudspeaker for the three officials to discuss the reason for not fielding a candidate. It lasted 30 minutes, according to officials at the party.
Tuju is said to have taken Ruto through an internal document prepared by the party, with Uhuru listening in.