By Andrew Ombuni
Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU_K) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli has been criticized over his remarks that the Deputy President William Ruto will not be on the ballot in 2022 presidential polls.
Leaders from Western Kenya allied to Deputy President have termed Atwoli’s remarks as reckless and that he was speaking on behalf of Dr Ruto’s detractors.
On Saturday in a fundraiser at Mkunguni Square in Lamu County, Atwoli told DP Ruto’s allies that they should wasting time and resources campaigning for the DP since their names will feature nowhere.
“We will have a referendum and let’s support it. At the time of election, Hassan Joho will be on the list of those forming government but William Ruto’s name will not on the list. The only people you will see are those standing for justice,” said Atwoli.
This was during a funds drive in aid of Salvation Army church at Township Secondary School in Kakamega town to construct a hotel and conference centre yesterday. Ruto was the Chief Guest.
The leaders led by former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale said Atwoli was serving the interests of DP’s political detractors led by opposition leader Raila Odinga to scuttle his (Ruto) presidential ambitions.
Dr Khalwale said Atwoli has no moral authority to dictate to Kenyans on who should be on the presidential ballot come 2022 polls and who should not, saying that he should stick to his lane of representing workers.
“In 2013, Atwoli in company of James Orengo, Johnstone Muthama and Raila told us that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Ruto will not be on the ballot and that we should not support them. He is repeating the same narrative and we ask Kenyans to shun him,” said Khalwale.
Khalwale said they will support Ruto’s presidential ambitions and ensure that he succeeds Uhuru, saying that even if elections were called this year, Raila and his brigade won’t defeat Ruto in the race to state house.
His sentiments were echoed by Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who said even if Atwoli’s push for referendum succeeds and constitution is changed, Ruto will by all means form the next government.
“They are fighting the DP since they have realised he is the ideal candidate for 2022. Nobody can intimidate us and tell us that Ruto’s name will not be on the ballot. Let Atwoli tell us who is his preferred candidate and we meet on the elections day,” said Mr Barasa.
Barasa said Kenyans will vote for a visionary leader and not what ‘witches’ have told Ruto’s political ‘enemies’ on who will be the next president come 2022.
Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe said it’s Raila who will not be on the ballot since he spent the only ‘bullet’ he had in the last polls.
“Raila spent his last bullet in 2017 presidential polls and lost. He doesn’t have a bullet to use in 2022 and Atwoli should stop drumming up support for him. We are tired of begging as Mulembe nation and that’s why we want to form government with Ruto,” said Wangwe.
Sirisia MP John Waluke termed Atwoli as a political broker and serving interests of other people. “Instead of supporting Musalia Mudavadi who is a potential president, he supporting people who don’t have interests of Kenyans at heart,”
National Assembly Chief Whip and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali said Ruto will be president despite the many obstacles that are on his way.
“Ruto will be president since he is God fearing but ‘witches’ will not rule this country. Ruto’s 2022 ambitions are unstoppable and Atwoli has no capacity to stop the tsunami,” said Washiali.
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu said Mt Kenya region is fully behind Ruto’s presidency and asked Atwoli to stop cheating Kenyans that Central Kenya will not support him come 2022.
Governor Waititu said Jubilee party is solidly behind Ruto, saying Atwoli should tell Raila to prepare and face them at the ballot instead of confusing Kenyans.
“Raila destroyed Kanu when he joined hands with retired President Daniel Arap Moi in 1997, he also brought Narc to its knees when they joined hands with Mwai Kibaki and killed NASA the other day leaving Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and Kalonzo in the cold. He won’t destroy jubilee,” said Waititu.
He said Jubilee party will rule Kenya for 100 years and it’s only Ruto will be handed over the instruments of power by Uhuru in 2022.
Deputy President William Ruto avoided politics and only said he is focused on Jubilee’s development agenda.
“Someone tell Atwoli as Jubilee party we are focused on delivering our development agenda to Kenyans. We are not interested in his sideshows but put food on the table of Kenyans who voted for us,” said Ruto.
Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali and Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama also attended the fundraiser.