Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday declared that he’s ready to face opposition chief Raila Odinga in the 2022 presidential race.
Speaking during a prayer service in Meru County, the DP, however, challenged the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader to come out clean that he would accept defeat the in the election.
“I have heard that he has announced that he wants to compete with me in 2022. I do not have a problem competing with him, but he must first tell and assure Kenyans that in case of a defeat, he will accept the decision of the Kenyan voters,” said Dr Ruto.
He went on, “Let him first tell the country that in case of defeat, he will not cause chaos.”
The DP, however, maintained that for now, his focus is on delivering the jubilee development agenda.
“But for the time being, I want to tell him that I am busy ensuring that the Jubilee manifesto and the Big Four agenda are realised,” he said.
Earlier, through his communication team, Odinga dismissed media reports that he had declared interest in the 2022 presidential race.
He said the local daily twisted his calls for grassroots elections in the Orange party to link him to the 2022 presidential race.
“Odinga does not believe that three years into an election expected in 2022, the media should prioritize who is running, who is ahead, who is behind, who is going to win, what are the odds and who will lose,” read the statement by his spokesman Dennis Onyango.
In the statement, Odinga, however, neither denied nor confirmed, that he’ll be on the ballot come 2022.
He has unsuccessfully contested for the presidency four times — in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017.
“Odinga believes that three years of dissecting poll numbers and forcing candidates into the race rather than focusing on real and urgent economic, political and social issues that the nation needs to deal with ahead of 2022 is reckless, irresponsible and cheap journalism,” Onyango said.
The two leaders have in the past differed on the call for constitution reforms which Odinga and his allies support.
On his part, the DP is opposed to recommendations made to Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) team that calls for the expansion of the executive.
Instead, Dr Ruto has in the past proposed for the creation and the recognition of official opposition in parliament.