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Uhuru allies divided on DP Ruto removal bid

THE STAR 08/26/2021

A meeting could be held today bringing together a section of Uhuru’s political lieutenants to plot the DP’s removal

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Nominated MP Maina Kamanda Image: / JOHN CHESOLI

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s allies are divided on whether to impeach Deputy President William Ruto days after the head of state dared him to resign.

It has however emerged that a meeting could be held today bringing together a section of Uhuru’s political lieutenants to plot the DP’s removal as the political war heads to Parliament. 

On Monday, Uhuru bluntly asked Ruto to resign instead of fighting the government from within, saying he is a threat to the country's stability.

However, Ruto hit back, saying he was going nowhere.

The Constitution requires that a motion to remove a deputy president from office by impeachment must be supported by at least 233 MPs in the National Assembly and 51 senators. 

The House had, during the approval of the Building Bridges Initiative, garnered 235 MPs – giving hopes to the handshake team that with proper planning, they could kick out Ruto.

Some of the President’s allies including Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe have previously argued that it is not impossible to kick out Ruto.

“I don’t think it is any difficult to impeach Ruto. We are looking for like-minded MPs who will meet and talk about how to go about it," nominated MP Maina Kamanda said.

“It is my wish that he should be removed from the position instead of sabotaging the government and that plan is on,” he added.

Kamanda, an influential MP within Uhuru’s camp, said the handshake enjoys massive support in Parliament among MPs and has the numbers to remove Ruto. 

The MP, who is backing ODM leader Raila Odinga for president next year, warned that the continued latitude Ruto has been getting has emboldened his attacks on the head of state. 

However, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, another staunch handshake supporter, said an impeachment motion against Ruto might not be the best strategy at the moment. 

Instead, he said Ruto "should resign on principle" to free himself and start campaigning for his 2022 presidential bid. 

“He needs to be a man of principle and quit government instead of using state privileges to attack the same government,” Ngunjiri said.

When asked if he could table a motion to remove the deputy president, Ngunjiri said, “No, but if he continues to stay in government, then we will see him as a coward. He needs to make up his mind."

There are fears such a motion to remove the deputy president may not be a walk in the park in Parliament, where MPs are having divided loyalty as the country hurtles to the 2022 polls. 

"They know that it cannot see the light of day and that is why they are making it street talk," Soy MP Caleb Kositany, a Ruto ally, said.

Some of the MPs who have previously been allied to Uhuru, especially from his Mt Kenya backyard, have recently crossed over to Ruto’s Tangatanga, raising doubt about the two-thirds majority.  

These MPs and some from Ruto’s camp had voted alongside the handshake team to hit the magic two-thirds threshold, a move that bolstered the approval of the controversial bill. 

Lugari MP Ayub Savula, a member of Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress party and who has been leading the push to impeach Ruto said the removal is still on the cards. 

The lawmaker maintained that the DP’s conduct has violated the Constitution and therefore made his stay in office untenable. 

“The process is on, we are looking for numbers, which we hope to get to table the motion,” the MP, who had in January threatened to start signature collection for Ruto's removal, said. 

Under the Constitution, a deputy president can be removed from office on the grounds of physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office or on impeachment. 

Impeachment can be done on the grounds of a gross violation of a provision of the Constitution or any other law, where there are serious reasons to believe he has committed a crime under national or international law or for gross misconduct.  

The President had on Monday, during an interview with senior editors at State House, asked his deputy to quit the government if he is dissatisfied instead of rocking the boat from within.  

Citing Ruto’s persistent attacks and doublespeak on the government’s achievements or failures, Uhuru said, “It would be really an honourable thing, if you are not happy, to step aside and allow those who want to move on to do so.” 

But Ruto on Tuesday in Kwale and in Taita Taveta counties said he is a man “on a mission” with “no room for retreat or surrender.” 

“I’m a man on a mission. I have no space to retreat nor the luxury to surrender,” the DP said.

Edited by A.N

 

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