Deputy President William Ruto yesterday rubbished fresh electoral demands by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition flag bearer Raila Odinga even as he accused him of planning to derail the August 9 polls.
Addressing his supporters in Turkana County, the DP claimed Mr Odinga’s aim is to scuttle the elections by mounting unreasonable demands on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“You can’t derail this election; you cannot select who will be in charge of IEBC because you have said that there won’t be elections without a manual register,” said Dr Ruto.
“He (Mr Odinga) has no right, capacity and ability to destroy IEBC, a constitutional body. IEBC is an independent body. It cannot take instructions from any of us acting as an umpire in the political arena.”
The DP alleged that the former prime minister’s “no manual register, no election” call is part of a scheme aimed at forcing his way into the next administration “the way he did in 2017”.
“If he has realised that his numbers are not enough and deep state isn’t helping him, let him desist from threats. Kenyans will elect their leaders. I will not allow him to issue threats or ultimatums because Kenya belongs to all of us. I am assuring Kenyans that we will have a peaceful election,” said Dr Ruto.
“This country is not going to be run on the basis of threats, blackmails or intimidation. This is a democratic country and the people of Kenya will make their choices openly and freely,” he added.
The DP pledged to tackle banditry in the county boasting of 238,528 voters. Addressing roadside rallies in Lokichoggio and Lodwar, he promised to address water problems as well as increase the number of households connected to the national grid.
“The Kenya Kwanza Alliance government will open up Turkana County through construction of more roads and completion of the ones that have stalled. To connect more people to electricity, we will invest in off-grid power installation to connect more villages to power,” said Dr Ruto.
He was accompanied by his campaign chairman, Governor Josphat Nanok, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Starehe MP Charles Njagua.
“We will reduce the standard of living, especially for basic goods like maize flour. Before the handshake between President (Uhuru) Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, a packet of flour was Sh90, but it’s now about Sh200,” said Dr Ruto.
The DP said insecurity along the Kerio Valley has escalated because the government had deployed more than 5,000 national police reservists that were later disarmed.
“We will discuss a workable plan to tackle banditry once and for all because it is your constitutional right to security, not a favour, to ensure lives and property are protected because you pay taxes like any other citizen,” said Dr Ruto.
He pledged to end the conflict between Turkana and the borders of Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan by establishing a military camp.
“Security at the border is not negotiable. We will establish military camps to ensure border residents and their livestock are protected from attacks from Ethiopia and South Sudan,” said Dr Ruto.
“We will recruit national police reservists who live together with locals to ensure that they provide the first line of defence,” he added.
The DP said the only reliable way to fight hunger in Turkana is through irrigation and promised to explore the Lotikipi aquifer.
“We will exploit the Lotikipi aquifer to ensure the plains with arable land produce food through irrigation to make the county a granary of the country.
“We will get adequate water to ensure the livestock don’t die during cycles of drought. We will exploit underground water in asal regions to tackle hunger and starvation,” he offered.
He also said the mathenge weed has caused havoc in Turkana by invading thousands of acres of land with the promise of clearing it to create more land for agriculture.
“We will invest enough resources to ensure that we improve in our agriculture through irrigation, subsidised seeds and fertiliser so that every citizen can live in a country where they can afford food and in the end tackle high poverty rates,” said Dr Ruto.