Ruto Allies Plot Mass Exit from Orange Party
Allies of Eldoret North MP William Ruto are planning a mass walkout from ODM next month.
The exodus will be executed by hundreds of rebel party officials at branches at constituency level ahead of UDM elections planned for November.
The Standard on Sunday established individuals holding branch positions but who are not MPs or civic leaders would resign to rejoin UDM.
But MPs and councillors will technically stick to ODM for purposes of compliance with the Political Partyies Act.
Three months ago, some members of the Orange party filed a case in court seeking to have parliamentary seats held by Eldoret North MP William Ruto and rebel MPs Isaac Rutto (Chepalungu), Joseph Kuttuny (Cherengany), Adan Duale (Dujis) and Charles Keter (Belgut) declared vacant by the court.
The petitioners argued the five MPs had joined the UDM in contravention of the law.
Ruto, who is scheduled to take over as UDM leader, confirmed the party is planning to elect new officials before the General Election.
He also said UDM would thereafter embark on identifying strong politicians to run on its ticket for the positions of governors, senators, MPs and others.
"Yes, our party will be holding elections around November. At the moment, we are working to ensure UDM is strengthened," Ruto said.
The former Higher Education Minister has been touring counties to popularise his new outfit.
Last week, the legislator toured Ganze, Kilifi, Kinango, Kaloleni, Lunga Lunga, Ukunda, Kwale, Kisauni and Rabai before concluding his tour in Junda.
At Mnarani, Ruto met 25 ODM councillors and discussed the planned exodus.
Chairman of the Kilifi County Council Kingi Kazungu said the ODM grassroots officials have resolved to decamp en mass to the new party by next month.
"It is the resolve of the people of Kilifi and other parts of Coast to move to the new party," said Kazungu.
Ruto’s campaign against ODM has been targeted at converting councillors and other leaders.
"We are moving with Ruto to UDM because ODM abandoned us and decided to work with individuals who were not sincere in their association with the party," said Algak chairman Taraiyia ole Koses.
Sources claim Ruto is also keen on converting MPs from other parties to join his fold.
The Eldoret North MP is said to be targeting Cabinet Minister Naomi Shaban, who has been a Kanu life member and MPs Mithika Linturi and Richard Monda.
Last week, Ruto met Linturi, who has also been leaning towards Raila’s side, at The Hood Restaurant in Hurlingham, Nairobi, to discuss a possible working relationship. Linturi has since broken ranks with Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto said Ruto’s team is working to ensure structures are put in place to consolidate grassroots backing before the country crosses into the elections year.
"We are talking to everybody to move along with us. We want to move with a huge number of MPs, councillors and opinion shapers in several counties," Isaac said.
He said UDM is already repainting former ODM offices with UDM colours in areas where party officials have been completely converted in the Rift Valley, Coast and North Eastern.
Apart from Rift Valley, defections are expected in counties at the Coast, North Eastern, Eastern and Kisii.