‘Can you work with Ruto in the future?’ Here is Raila’s response

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 16 Dec, 2020 23:29 | 3 mins read
Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga. [PHOTO | FILE]
Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga. PHOTO/File

ODM leader Raila Odinga says he can work with Deputy President William Ruto should “circumstances conspire” to let that happen.

Speaking in an interview on KTN News on Wednesday night (December 16), Odinga said the DP falsely accused him of orchestrating his (Ruto’s) departure from ODM.

It would be remembered that Ruto, among others, formed the formidable Pentagon team that powered Raila Odinga’s 2007 presidential campaigns.

Raila and Ruto, however, fell out shortly after the 2007/2008 post-election coalition government was installed.

Before their fall-out, Raila Odinga, a prime minister at the time, engineered the appointment of Ruto to the powerful Agriculture ministry. However, Ruto, the Agriculture Minister at the time, would later 2009 leave office in unclear circumstances after maize scandal hit the ministry.

The scandal that became public in January 2009 involved the sale of imported maize. In late 2008, the ban on importation of maize was lifted by the Government to allow capable businessmen to import maize to supplement the local produce that was short of the minimum required to satisfy the local market.

In early 2009 after parliamentary debate on a maize scandal, Ruto was accused of illegally selling maize by the then-Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale (Public Accounts Committee chairman).

All the documents bearing the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) seal that linked Ruto to the illegal sale of maize were accepted by Parliament’s deputy speaker.

As a result, Ruto’s interdiction was recommended by Odinga.

That move marked a bitter fall-out between the pair, whose differences were later catalysed by Odinga’s stand on Mau evictions.

Ruto would go ahead to forge a coalition with TNA’s Uhuru Kenyatta, winning the presidency in the March 4, 2013 general election against Raila’s mash-up with Kalonzo Musyoka.

Since then, Raila and Ruto have been perceived to be fierce political foes, who cannot enter a negotiating room and come out of it with a deal that smacks of a truce.

Asked whether he can work with William Ruto again, Raila Odinga said Wednesday: “I have worked with him before. [However, this time around, if I have to re-enter an agreement with him, then] circumstances will [have to] conspire.”

The ODM leader, thereafter, absolved himself of any involvement in Ruto’s 2009 maize scandal woes and ICC tribulations.

“He (Ruto) said we chased him out of ODM, we did not,” said Raila Odinga.

“Investigations into the maize scandal were not stemming from personal differences I had with him. At the time, Ruto was the agriculture minister, and after the Government contracted audit firm, PWC, to unravel details of the maize scandal, some people were mentioned adversely, and, as a result, they had to be interdicted.

“Among those interdicted, was the agriculture minister at the time, William Ruto. I, [as the prime minister then], did not sack him. He was interdicted. Ruto, thereafter, accused me of orchestrating his trial at The Hague. It was after the post-election violence trials began that he left ODM on his own volition,” said Odinga.

Several people, most recently ex-Sports CS Rashid Echesa, have asked Raila Odinga and William Ruto to forge a political alliance that would see a leader from Western part of Kenya occupy the State House.

“This Raila Odinga whom you are seeing here is our political teacher. All the leaders you are seeing here passed under his tutelage. I am one of Raila’s students. Deputy President William Ruto, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, Mumias MP Benjamin Washiali, and many others, are Raila Odinga’s political students,” Echesa said on December 5 during the burial of Matungu MP Justus Murunga.

“I urge all the leaders who are present here today to consider stabilising our country, which is in a bad place politically. You are the people Kenyans are looking up to. Today, all of you (Ruto, Raila, Mudavadi and Wetangula) are here. Raila we urge you, with a lot of respect as our father, to endorse a presidential candidature of Deputy President William Ruto and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya,” Echesa said during the burial ceremony held at Murunga’s Makunda Village home in Kakamega County.

“In 2007, there was a powerful team called the Pentagon. Today, nearly the entire Pentagon team is here. The team was made up of, among a few others, Raila, Ruto and Mudavadi. And, that team is here today. All the three of you wanted the presidency to come to this side (Western Kenya),” said Echesa.

“In Western Kenya, we have Musalia Mudavadi and Governor Oparanya as our leaders. Oparanya has been an MP for two terms, he has been a minister, he has been a two-time governor, he is the current chairperson of the Governors’ Council. You know that Oparanya is the Deputy Party Leader of ODM, you know that Raila is the Party Leader, you know that DP Ruto is our friend. I am now urging Raila Odinga, whom we must protect, to take Ruto and Oparanya, put them in one corner, advise them and endorse their presidential ticket.

“After the duo wins the presidency, the new government should look into positions available for Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetangula.”