Deputy President William Ruto on Friday reiterated that the Jubilee party has no preferred candidate in the 2022 race to State House.
The DP was responding to city lawyer Nelson Havi, who had reacted to a recent remark made by Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju that the party doesn’t have an automatic candidate for the 2022 presidential race.
“I will be ready to receive every individual who will express his or her interest in fighting for the position if I will still be the party’s SG at that time,” Tuju said in an interview with Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed.
In a tweet, Havi said that he’s interested in the party’s presidential ticket.
“Jubilee has confirmed that it has no automatic Presidential candidate for 2022. I have, therefore, decided to put my name there. Ama namna gani ma frens?” Havi wrote on Twitter.
In response, the DP said Havi, who is aligned to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, is welcomed, provided he switches allegiance.
“You are very welcome Havi start with membership it’s online, ” the DP wrote.
You are very welcome Havi start with membership its online https://t.co/344Z8sUWcR
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) October 11, 2019
Havi, a fierce critic of the Deputy President, is one of the lawyers that represented the opposition coalition National Super Alliance (NASA) during the 2017 petition at the Supreme Court challenging the election of Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The DP has in the recent past stated that candidates running for various seats would be subjected to free and fair nominations.
Speaking on Thursday at the home of former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale in Malinya, Kakamega County, the DP dismissed reports that the Jubilee part had “automatic candidates” in the 2022 election.
“We embrace democracy and respect the will of the people. We will all compete for different positions in the nominations. There will be no direct ticket in Jubilee Party in all the seats,” Ruto said.
He added, “As a democratic party, we are open and transparent in the way we carry out our activities.”
The DP’s comments come at a time several leaders from the Mount Kenya region, allied to team Kieleweke, have openly opposed his presidential bid.
Early this year, former Jubilee Vice-chairman David Murathe stated that Ruto is not eligible to vie for president adding that the Mount Kenya region doesn’t owe him any political debt.
“If he (DP Ruto) has a MoU with Uhuru Kenyatta, then that was an agreement between two individuals,” stated Murathe.
He added: “If you have led with Uhuru for two terms, what else do you want?”
The key ally of President Kenyatta cited the DP’s statement that he is welcoming competition for the Jubilee ticket nomination.
“At least now we can see people are sobering up. Yesterday they said they don’t mind nomination and once defeated they will support the winner. They are no longer chest-thumping around,” he said.
The sentiments were echoed by Mount Kenya elders who said they don’t owe Ruto any debt.
Speaking in June at a prayer session in Kabiru-ini Grounds in Nyeri County, the elders also warned politicians allied to Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke factions against the 2022 succession debate, saying it was against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wish.
The elders through Council Secretary Peter Munga accused Ruto of disrespecting the president by starting early 2022 campaigns in Mount Kenya region.
“The DP has been playing petty politics meant to undermine the President and divide Central Kenya, despite the Head of State telling politicians to stop early campaigns,” said Munga.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu is also opposed to the DP’s 2022 presidential ambitions.