Deputy President William Ruto has hit out at Jubilee leaders opposed to McDonald Mariga’s candidature in the forthcoming Kibra by-election.
In a tweet, apparently directed at Sports CEC Rachael Shebesh, who on Friday endorsed ODM’s Imran Okoth over Mariga, the DP urged Jubilee leaders to ignore the ‘rebels’.
The DP, who is said to have pushed for the Mariga candidature, asked loyals to accord Mariga the much-needed support ahead of the Kibra race.
“All JUBILEE party supporters should ignore & treat with utter contempt rebels and those rejected by the electorate who now deceptively purport to speak for the party leadership, ” DP Ruto wrote on Saturday night.
He added, “Let’s give Mariga our flag bearer moral, material and prayerful support. Victory is surely beckoning.”
All JUBILEE party supporters should ignore & treat with utter contempt rebels and those rejected by the electorate who now deceptively purport to speak for the party leadership. Let's give Mariga our flag bearer moral,material and prayerful support. Victory is surely beckoning.
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) September 28, 2019
Speaking on Friday in Kibra, Shebesh alleged that President Uhuru Kenyatta was coerced to endorse Mariga.
“On that day when the president endorsed Mariga for Kibra race, I was in State House. I know how they mounted pressure on the president, and how they gained entry to State House. They used the backdoor,” she said.
“You and I both know our president is very vocal; he has a voice. On the Mariga endorsement issue, did you hear or watch him speak anywhere? We only saw pictures, he did not speak.”
The former Nairobi Woman Representative joins a list of other Jubilee leaders, who have declared support for candidates from rival parties.
Others include nominated MP Maina Kamanda and his counterpart Moses Kuria.
Kamanda last week hosted a delegation of Agikuyu Community in Kibra constituency, days after he endorsed Imran.
“I am here in my personal capacity. The handshake brought us harmony and peace in the country.
“As Jubilee, we have a candidate but as a person, I will be with the ODM candidate. I am here to stand with the candidate nominated by ODM Imran Okoth,” he said while pledging his full support during a press conference attended by opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Other candidates in the race include Amani National Congress’ Eliud Owala, Editar Achieng of Ukweli Party, Ford Kenya’s Khamisi Butichi and a number of independent candidates.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi declared the Kibra constituency seat vacant on August 14 following the demise of Ken Okoth.
The by-election has been slated for November 7.