Raila Odinga made several attempts to engage William Ruto before his handshake deal with President Uhuru, the deputy president has said.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with Hussein Mohamed on Citizen TV, Ruto claimed that Mr Odinga approached him four times after the hotly-contested 2017 elections.
The DP declined to hold talks prompting the former Prime Minister to engage President Kenyatta in what would culminate in handshake deal on March 9, 2018.
According to Ruto, he duly informed President Kenyatta every time Raila made a move.
Asked why he declined to engage Mr. Odinga, Ruto said he had doubts about the ODM leader’s intentions.
“Before Raila Odinga engaged President Uhuru Kenyatta on the handshake, he engaged me. Raila Odinga approached me on four occasions to have a discussion and I declined to engage him for two reasons. In Jubilee, we have one central command. Uhuru Kenyatta is the party leader and president and we all refer to him. If there is any engagement with anybody on matters politics it has to start with President Kenyatta. For every approach that was made by Raila Odinga to me, I informed the President. I personally told him I will not engage Raila Odinga,” said Ruto.
Dr Ruto went on to add; “I did not believe that he was doing this in good faith. On two occasions, we spoke on phone when he sent some emissary and I could hear the trend: ‘Ooh you know you can see the president has started appointing ministers.’ I told him initially we were having a coalition, but now we are running a party… So the president does not have to consult me.”
“I knew that the narrative was about to try and say that I was being shortchanged here and there, which to me is a fake thing.”
Ruto, who described himself as “a good student of history”, pointed out that Raila has a history of wrecking political fits.
“See what happened in the merger between KANU and DP… Raila came in and walked away with half of KANU,” said Ruto.
On why Uhuru went ahead to engage with Mr. Odinga despite him (Ruto) expressing his reservations, the DP said: “We are all different. The president operates from a high level than me. He has more information and a bigger view.”
Ruto, however, said that the handshake is working to the good of the country.
“To an extent yes[it is working]. The fact that we do not have demonstrations anymore, people quarreling in the streets, businesses are running without problems. It is working.”
When Hussein asked him why he wants to be the next president of Kenya, Ruto said: “You cross every river when you get there. For now, I am happy to serve as the DP. When that time comes, the Jubilee Party will make that decision.”