Uhuru allies trooped to Turbo to calm Ruto fears

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Ruto-Politicians from President Kenyatta’s central Kenya base Sunday trooped to Turbo, the home area of Deputy President William Ruto, in what appeared to be an effort to preserve the ruling coalition.

Some 62 MPs, nine senators and eight governors, representing 25 counties, attended a thanksgiving Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Turbo, 10km from Mr Ruto’s Sugoi farm.

The big turnout is being seen as an attempt by Mr Kenyatta’s supporters to signal to the Deputy President and his following that he has not been abandoned even though the President’s case in The Hague has collapsed and Mr Ruto’s continues.

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The same message was chorused by central Kenya leaders: They will support Mr Ruto if he runs for President in 2022 and in the bid to have his case at the ICC dropped.

The central leaders joined others from Rift Valley and western Kenya.

Rift Valley turned out for Mr Kenyatta in the last elections after he teamed up with Mr Ruto, his running mate. At the time, the two were united by the ICC cases stemming from the 2007/8 post-election violence.

The Kenyatta side of the Jubilee, which would be hard put to survive in government or win the next election without the Ruto side, appeared anxious to reassure Rift Valley that Mr Ruto would not face the ICC alone.

Nakuru Town East MP David Kigaria said: “We will not celebrate (the withdrawal of charges against President Kenyatta) until our (Ruto’s) case is dismissed. We are solidly behind our Rift Valley brothers in this.”

President Kenyatta, last weekend, attended a church service in Embu with Mr Ruto and reassured his deputy that the fight against his case and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang would Mr Ruto Sunday said he was confident his case too would be dropped even as he denied that he and Mr Kenyatta were brought together by the ICC cases.

“Our coming together in the run-up to the elections was not about cases facing us at the ICC but to unite all Kenyans irrespective of their ethnic or political affiliations. We are prepared to pay any price to create a momentum which will take Kenya to the next level. Never again should Kenyans turn against each other,” he said.

He continued: “We are here today to thank God for dropping President Kenyatta’s case and with your prayers we are sure the rest with follow suit and we will come here again to thank God.”
He asked the ICC judges to drop the charges against Mr Sang whom, he said, was “just a radio broadcaster who never held any political meeting” during the 2007 elections.

“It is better that Mr Sang be released as he has just been escorting me but we are all innocent. I’m ready to face them to the end until the truth comes out,” he said.
Mr Ruto and Mr Sang are the only suspects left, after the charges against the initial six charged by former prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo were dropped.

“It is just a matter of time before cases facing our two brothers are dropped because there is no evidence linking them to what happened in this country in 2008,” said Kieni MP Kanini Kega.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria wondered why Mr Ruto and President Kenyattta were charged yet they were not vying for presidency in 2007.

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He said Jubilee MPs would support Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s plans to have Africa pull out of the Rome Statute.
Mr Sudi, a close ally of the Deputy President, accused ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of carrying out shoddy investigations into the Kenyan case.

“From the look of things, the cases are already stumbling and by April all the cases will have been dropped. You cannot achieve justice for the victims by punishing the innocent.”
He added: “This ICC issue was not sustainable from the word go. All the cases should be dropped for Kenya to move forward.”

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi) hit out at the ICC for what he termed investigations below standards, adding that it was just a matter of time before the two remaining cases were dropped.

“The investigations carried out by ICC prosecutors were fake and that is why so far four of the six Kenyans accused of masterminding the 2007/8 post election violence have been freed and I am sure the rest will soon be freed,” said Prof Kindiki.

“The same bond that binds the two cases is the same fate that will befall the rest of the cases,” said Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

Laikipia West MP Wachira Karani, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso and Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie were also present.

The MPs from western Kenya included Mr John Waluke (Sirisia), Mr John Serut (Mt Elgon), Mr Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Mr Ayub Savula (Lugari), Mr John Bunyasi (Nambale) and Mr David Were (Matungu).

-nation.co.ke

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